Eli Lilly and Company announced that John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., will retire as president and CEO of the company effective Dec. 31, 2016. Lechleiter will continue on Lilly's board of directors until May 31, 2017, serving as non-executive chairman. Lilly's board of directors unanimously elected David A. Ricks, currently senior vice president and president, Lilly Bio-Medicines, to assume the role of president and CEO and to join the board on Jan. 1, 2017, and to become chairman of the board on June 1, 2017.
"As Lilly transitions from our recent challenging period of patent expirations to a new era of growth, it is the logical time for a transition in company leadership," Lechleiter said. "Dave Ricks is a capable, decisive and energetic leader who is very well prepared to succeed me as CEO. He brings to the role broad experience in Lilly's commercial operations along with an appreciation and understanding of research and development. He previously led Lilly's business operations in Canada, China, and the U.S. Since 2012, he has successfully guided Lilly's largest business area, Lilly Bio-Medicines, through a period of profound change. He is well respected inside and outside the company, consistently builds exceptional teams, and sets high standards of performance. Dave is well suited to help Lilly capitalize on the opportunities before it, as well as to confront the inevitable challenges that lie ahead. He will provide outstanding leadership for our company in the coming years."
Reflecting on his tenure as Lilly's top leader, Lechleiter said, "It has been a distinct honor and a privilege to serve this great company as its CEO these past eight years. I wish to thank all of my Lilly colleagues for their unfailing support as well as their extraordinary efforts throughout this period."
"The prospect of leading Eli Lilly and Company is at the same time humbling and tremendously exciting," said Ricks. "Patients, physicians, health-care payers, and society as a whole expect a great deal from us. Together with my Lilly colleagues around the world, I look forward to meeting these expectations and, whenever we can, exceeding them.
Ricks' successor as president of Lilly Bio-Medicines will be announced at a later date.