The big shakeup under way at AstraZeneca under new CEO Pascal Soriot has hit home at MedImmune. Peter Greenleaf is out as president of the Gaithersburg, MD-based biotech division and Bahija Jallal, now a member of an R&D troika on AstraZeneca's executive group in the wake of Martin Mackay's ouster, is stepping up to the top spot.
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AstraZeneca has become one of the most active dealmakers in the industry in the months since David Brennan vacated the top post. But after a miserable sales performance in the last quarter--down 19%--the company made it clear that it needed to do a lot more, hinting that big things could be afoot.
AstraZeneca's ($AZN) new CEO wasted little time in making a big move. Pascal Soriot, who took the reins today, suspended the company's stock-buyback plan with $2.2 billion left to go on a $4.5 billion target for this year. The buybacks won't resume till after Soriot and the AstraZeneca board review their going-forward strategy--if then.
In many ways, Roche is everything that AstraZeneca is not but desperately wants to be--inventive, focused, with a reputation for success in biotech innovation. And that says a lot about the strategies that AstraZeneca will follow in the years ahead.
About 5 years ago AstraZeneca's now ex-CEO David Brennan pulled the trigger on a $15.6 billion purchase of the biotech MedImmune, a move that would help define his tumultuous tenure as chief executive.
AstraZeneca has been under the gun recently for paying some hefty prices on a string of business deals for new products. But after reporting another dismal set of quarterly earnings--with sales plunging 21% on a combination of generic competition and European-style economizing--the pharma giant is signaling that the deal-making has just begun.
AstraZeneca's biotech arm, MedImmune, is doing its part in a corporate restructuring operation--axing 200 workers and relocating 100 others as it shutters a pair of facilities in California.
Ex-CEO David Brennan was expected to carry his moneybags out the door at AstraZeneca. Till now, just how much those bags would contain was open to speculation. Turns out that Brennan's retirement haul won't be as large as it could have been.
It's an all-too-familiar frustration for pharma shareholders. On the heels of declining revenues and mismanagement, a CEO departs, and then comes the golden handshake.