Eli Lilly and Company has announced that Sidney Taurel, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, will retire as CEO effective March 31, 2008. Taurel will remain chairman of the company's board of directors until December 31, 2008, at which time he will retire from the board and from the company. John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., currently president and chief operating officer, will assume the role of president and chief executive officer as of April 1, 2008.
Taurel has been the company's chief executive officer since July, 1998, and the chairman of its board of directors since January 1, 1999. He joined Lilly in 1971 as a marketing associate in Eli Lilly International. After sales and marketing experiences in Brazil, Eastern Europe and France, he became general manager of the company's affiliate in Brazil in 1981. He subsequently assumed the London-based role of vice president of Lilly's European Operations in 1983, and then moved to Indianapolis in 1986 as president of Lilly International. In 1993 he was named an executive vice president of the company and president of the pharmaceutical division, and in 1996 was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the corporation.
Taurel is past chairman and a current member of the executive committee of the board of directors of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). He is also a member of the boards of both IBM Corporation and McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. He serves on the board of overseers of the Columbia Business School and as a trustee at the Indianapolis Museum of Art; he is on the board of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships, and serves as a member of both The Business Roundtable and the executive committee of The Business Council. Taurel served on the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council (2002-2004), the President's Export Council (2005-2006), and has since April 2007 served on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. He is also an officer in the French Legion of Honor.
"I am grateful to have spent nearly 37 years with this great company, and deeply honored to have had the opportunity to lead it for the last ten. I am very proud of what my Lilly colleagues around the world have accomplished together during a decade of both successes and challenges," said Taurel. "I believe that 2008 is the right time for me to retire for a number of reasons. First, the company has executed very well over the past couple of years, exceeding both our and our shareholders' expectations. As a result, the company is operationally very sound and positioned for continued success. Second, I and the senior leadership team have laid out a vision for the company that will guide Lilly for many years to come, and this gives me great confidence about Lilly's future success. And third, John has been preparing for his new role as my successor for several years, and 2008 is the right time for him to assume his place as the leader of the company."
Upon Taurel's recommendation, the company's board of directors has unanimously elected Lechleiter chief executive officer and president effective April 1, 2008. Lechleiter has served as president and chief operating officer since October 2005.
Lechleiter joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development, and he became a head in that department in 1982. In 1984 he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Center (Erl Wood) in Windlesham, England, and he subsequently returned to the U.S. in 1986 as manager of research and development projects for Europe. In 1988, he became director of development projects management, and in 1989 assumed additional responsibility for pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, chemistry, manufacturing and control. In 1991 he was named executive director of pharmaceutical product development and became vice president in 1993. Lechleiter was appointed vice president of regulatory affairs in 1994, vice president of Lilly Research Laboratories in 1996, and senior vice president of pharmaceutical products in 1998. In 2001 he became executive vice president for pharmaceutical products and corporate development, and then became executive vice president of pharmaceutical operations in early 2004.
Lechleiter received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in chemistry from Xavier University in 1975. He then studied organic chemistry as a National Science Foundation Fellow at Harvard University, where he was granted his master's and doctorate degrees in 1980.
Lechleiter is a member of the American Chemical Society. He currently serves on the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Business School and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Xavier University (Cincinnati). In addition, he serves as a distinguished advisor of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, and is a member of the boards of directors of the Fairbanks Institute and the United Way of Central Indiana.
"John is as prepared to lead this company as any chief executive in our history," said Taurel. "His decisive leadership, his personal style, and his deep experiences across the entire value chain of our business uniquely qualify him to step in to this role in April. He is well-respected across the industry, he inspires Lilly employees, and he embodies the company's core values."
"I am humbled and excited by this opportunity to lead Eli Lilly and Company, particularly during a time of profound challenge and unprecedented opportunity. We will stand firm by the timeless values laid down by our founders, yet act decisively to maintain our strong competitive position," said Lechleiter. "We will be guided by an exciting new vision for our future that places individual patient outcomes at the core of our endeavors."
Continued Lechleiter, "For more than three decades Sidney has provided invaluable leadership for Lilly and for our industry. His consistent and resolute focus on innovation, globalization and transparency has distinguished our company. With the support and engagement of Lilly employees around the world, I look forward to building on Sidney's legacy and to leading this company to even higher levels of achievement as we go forward."
Said Karen Horn, senior managing director of Brock Capital and lead director of Lilly's board, "On behalf of Lilly's entire board of directors, I would like to recognize Sidney's significant leadership over a challenging period for both the company and the industry. He has been seen as a leader among his peers in the industry for many years, and Lilly's external stature as well as operating performance have both benefited from his leadership and guidance. Strong leaders require strong successors, and the board is pleased to appoint John to the role of CEO and president. His experiences and personal style equip him well for the challenges ahead, and we are confident that he will build upon the strong foundation that Sidney has built."
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.