Paul Kirchgraber promoted to Covance CEO as former chief takes the reins at LabCorp Diagnostics

Paul Kirchgrabe (Covance)

John Ratliff is leaving his former post as CEO of Covance and moving up to lead the CRO’s parent company LabCorp Diagnostics amid a change at the very top.

This has led to Paul Kirchgraber, currently senior vice president and head of Covance’s clinical trial testing solutions, to step up to become its new chief; both roles are effective Nov. 1 this year.

All these moves come as Adam Schechter becomes president and CEO of LabCorp next month, coming off a major 31-year stint at Big Pharma Merck, where he worked most recently as EVP and president of global human health.

Schechter has also been a LapCorp director since 2013, and back in January he became the company’s lead independent director. He'll replace that company’s long-time chief David King, who is bumping up to executive chairman.

“John has demonstrated his transformational leadership of the Covance business and has been deeply engaged with our LabCorp Diagnostics business over the past three years,” said Schechter.

“As a long-tenured executive at Covance, Paul heads one of its most successful divisions and is ready to lead the business into the future. I look forward to working with John and Paul.”

“John and Paul are exceptional leaders who will continue working to fully realize the power of our unique capabilities in diagnostics and drug development,” added King. “Under Adam’s leadership and with their support, LabCorp is well-positioned to grow and thrive in the years ahead, as we pursue our noble mission to improve health and improve lives.”

Covance became part of medical testing giant LabCorp in a $6 billion deal back in 2015, and it has been ramping up its spend on the CRO unit. Back in April, LabCorp spent $485 million so Covance could snap up Envigo's nonclinical business.

Just last month, Covance also unveiled a new R&D center in Shanghai, building on more than two decades of work in the region.

LabCorp has been in China since 1998 but in September bolstered its Covance unit’s presence in the region, with the R&D Center occupying 12,000 square meters in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park of Shanghai's Pudong District.