© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche is pictured in front of the company’s building in Rotkreuz, Switzerland, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer/File Photo
By John Revill and Ludwig Burger
ZURICH (Reuters) -Roche said on Monday the head of its pharmaceuticals division had decided to leave after 16 years with the Swiss drugmaker, heralding a wider reshuffle in addition to a planned CEO changeover early next year.
Bill Anderson, the former boss of Roche’s Genentech unit, would quit at the end of the year “to pursue opportunities outside of Roche”, with a successor due to be named by March 2023, Roche said in a statement.
Anderson’s departure from heading Roche’s largest business means more fundamental change to manage for CEO-designate Thomas Schinecker, Roche’s head of diagnostics, who is due to be promoted to group CEO in March.
He will replace CEO Severin Schwan, who has led a successful years-long campaign to diversify away from Roche’s traditional focus on cancer.
But the onus will be on Schinecker to reinvigorate the development pipeline after family-controlled Roche this year ran into a string of development setbacks: A keenly-followed Alzheimer’s drug trial failed last month and a new lung cancer immunotherapy candidate flopped in May.
The Swiss company’s shares have dropped about 20% so far this year, a worse performance than the 5% decline in the STOXX Europe 600 Health Care index.
Anderson will be replaced on a temporary basis by Schinecker, the company added.
Schinecker will replace Severin Schwan, who is slated to become chairman after 14 years as CEO of Roche.
“Over his 16-year career at Roche, Bill Anderson hasdemonstrated excellent leadership. He has been instrumental in shaping Roche’s transformation and I wish him all the best for the future,” Schwan said in a statement.
Anderson joined California-based Genentech in 2006 as senior vice president of the Immunology and Ophthalmology Business Unit, before leading the Bio oncology Business Unit.
He had been CEO of Roche’s pharmaceuticals business since 2019.
In proposals for next year’s AGM, Roche also confirmed its intention to propose Schwan as the next chairman.
As previously announced in July 2022, Christoph Franz has decided not to seek re-election as chairman, Roche said on Monday.
It added that Nestle CEO Mark Schneider and Akiko Iwasaki, an Immunobiology professor at Yale University, would stand for election as new board members at next year’s annual general meeting.
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