Lilly CEO Lechleiter to Retire in December

01.08.2016 -

Long-time Eli Lilly chairman and CEO, John C. Lechleiter, has announced plans to retire in December of this year after 30 years with the US drugmaker. Succeeding the 62-year-old executive, at the company’s helm since 2008, will be David A. Ricks, 49, currently president of the bio-medicines business. Ricks will take over as CEO in January 2017 and become board chairman in June.

Lechleiter is credited with leading Lilly through challenging times marked by the expiry of patent protection for several of its top-selling products, including the anti-psychotic Zyprexa and the antidepressant Cymbalta, both of which had enjoyed sales of well over $4 billion in revenue annually. Rather than jumping on the mega M&A carousel, under Lechleiter’s leadership Lilly was praised by analysts for developing new drugs through the company’s own resources while at the same time slashing expenses, beefing up sales of the company’s human insulin drug Humalog and investing its animal health franchise.

Among other stations at Lilly, Ricks, who joined the company in 1996, has led the company's business operations in Canada, China and the US. As head of the bio-medicines business, the manager oversaw the neuroscience, cardiovascular and urology treatment areas and the company's global marketing operation.