Posted 26 April 2012
By Alexander Gaffney
Two life sciences giants are experiencing transitions in leadership, as AstraZeneca's Chief Executive Office David Brennan announced he was relinquishing his position effective immediately and incoming Johnson & Johnson (J&J) CEO Alex Gorsky assumes his position at the company on 26 April.
Rumors of Brennan's departure have been brewing for some time, but finally came to a head after the firm announced a 19% decrease in first-quarter profits, reports Reuters. The company has been grappling with the loss of patent exclusivity for many of its top-selling drugs, including blockbuster antipsychotic Seroquel.
Brennan will be replaced on an interim basis by Chief Financial Officer Simon Lowth, said The Associated Press.
For J&J, the arrival of Gorsky comes after a period of intense challenges. As Regulatory Focus reported in April, the company has been through an exhausting gauntlet of regulatory setbacks and scandals.
As The New York Times reports, Gorsky will now have to confront those challenges and look to rebuild not only the company's business, but it's reputation as well.
"I think we're going to need to be bold, disciplined and decisive about how we go forward," said Gorsky in an interview with The Times on 25 April.
Among the challenges identified by Gorsky: regulatory.
"I think the markets are going to demand a higher bar around innovation and really making a difference for patients," remarked Gorsky.
PharmPro - AstraZeneca CEO to step down as Q1 profit plunges
Reuters - AstraZeneca CEO quits as profits tumble
Regulatory Focus - AstraZeneca Sues FDA to Halt Generic Seroquel
The New York Times - After Recalls and Missteps, J.&J.'s New Chief Confronts Critical Challenges
Regulatory Focus - J&J Earnings Drag as Regulatory Problems Accumulate
Read all Regulatory Focus Stories on Johnson & Johnson
Mass Device - New J&J CEO Gorsky wants to grow device business