Gregoire exits Shire HGT one step ahead of new CEO's debut

Sylvie Gregoire, president of Shire's Human Genetic Therapies division

Bright and early today Shire ($SHPG) issued an annual report on 2012 brimming with rising sales figures and bullishly outlining some ambitious late-stage efforts. But as the company prepares to make a high-profile switch in the CEO suite, Shire also announced that Sylvie Gregoire, president of the fast-growing rare-disease division, will step out of her role just as a new CEO is being prepped for the top job.

Gregoire will be leaving Shire at the end of March, just as Dr. Flemming Ørnskov completes his CEO apprenticeship in preparation for a late-April coronation, when he takes over the helm from Angus Russell. "We're grateful for her significant contributions to the growth of Shire through establishing HGT as a leader in rare diseases," Shire said in its statement today.

Mick Cooper, an analyst at Edison Investment Research,noted today that "Dr. Ørnskov is taking over the company with good prospects, although I am sure he will be disappointed that Sylvie Gregoire has decided to leave Shire." 

Gregoire joined Shire as head of HGT in 2007, two years after Russell, then the company's CFO, had helped engineer a buyout of TKT to create the rare disease unit. The buyout of Jerini set up the 2011 approval of Firazyr for hereditary angioedema. Shire was particularly happy to note Firazyr's results after a full year of marketing in the U.S. And the division's revenue has grown from $300 million to $1.4 billion with a staff of thousands and operations in 29 countries, giving Gregoire a high profile in the biotech industry. 

There's no immediate word of where Gregoire is headed or why she decided to leave. But she's a veteran at working globally. About a year ago Gregoire began to divide her time between an office in Paris, facilities in Nyon, Switzerland, and the newly expanded Lexington, MA, headquarters. 

Over the past five years Shire has become one of the darlings of the biopharma industry, making just about everyone's list of most-admired companies and endlessly cited as a big takeover target for any Big Pharma company still interested in doing something big on the M&A side. Anyone thinking of buying the company now will find at least a couple of new faces on the bargaining table.

- here's the release
- and the full earnings report (pdf)

Special Report: Sylvie Gregoire - Women in Biotech 2012 | Flemming Ornskov - The 25 most influential people in biopharma today - 2013

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