AstraZeneca chairman to retire in 2023

Feb. 22, 2022

After 11 years as non-executive chairman AstraZeneca, Leif Johansson will retire next year, the company announced this week.

Johansson joined AstraZeneca in 2012, when Pascal Soriot became chief executive. Johansson also served as chairman of telecommunications firm Ericsson from 2011 until 2018.

In Britain, recent efforts to diversify talent have included new governance codes introduced in 2019 that state that a chair for a firm should not remain in the post for more than nine years. While Johansson reached his tenure in 2021, the company asked him to stay until 2023 to help with the transition.

At the time that his tenure was completed, the Swedish businessman was overseeing the acquisition of rare diseases drugmaker Alexion, its biggest deal on record valued at $39 billion.

"The Board believes it would be in the best interests of shareholders for Mr Johansson to seek re-election at the AGM in April 2022 and continue to serve as Chair for one further year," AstraZeneca stated. 

According to AstraZeneca, the search for Johansson's successor is 'proceeding well.'

In 2019, AstraZeneca appointed a well-known but controversial cancer doctor, José Baselga, to head research and development for oncology, as part of a larger overhaul designed to speed drugs to market.