AstraZeneca CEO lays out his short term priorities

Pascal Soriot laid out his priorities for the coming months.

AstraZeneca released its third-quarter and nine months results this morning, and you can see all of the information here.

In presenting the information to reporters, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot provided a look at his priorities for his first months on the job:

In addition to the well known challenges that confront the pharmaceutical sector as a whole, the loss of exclusivity of several of our brands in major markets has largely defined our financial performance in the first nine months of 2012.  We will continue to meet these challenges with determination and focus to deliver against our targets.

In my first few months, I am working on three priorities:

First, getting out and visiting as many people as I can, particularly in our R&D and commercial organisations.

Second, meeting shareholders and other stakeholders, to clarify their expectations of the Company and of me in my new role.

And finally, to immerse myself in the ongoing annual strategy update.

On the final point, Soriot said he planned to take “as much time as necessary to engage with the organisation and work with the Board to see this strategy update to its conclusion.”

AstraZeneca releases half year results

AstraZeneca released second quarter and half year results for 2012 this morning, with Interim Chief Executive Officer Simon Lowth summing them up:

Despite the challenges – primarily as a result of the expected loss of exclusivity on some products – our underlying performance in first half of the year reflects the resilience of several of our brands and the benefits of disciplined cost management. We also made significant progress in bolstering our late-stage pipeline and on-market portfolio through external opportunities that represent a good strategic fit and add value.

Our long-term priorities for the business remain unchanged. We are driving the performance of brands that retain exclusivity, investing in markets with long-term potential, reshaping the cost base for sustainable competitiveness and remaining focused on improving the returns on our investments in innovation.

The full set of results and tables can be found here.

David Brennan: “A Long And Rewarding Career”

David Brennan announced his retirement today.

AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer and Board member David Brennan announced today that he is retiring after six years in the position, saying it has been a “genuine privilege” to lead the company.

The following are comments Brennan made during a call with journalists about AstraZeneca’s first quarter financial results:

“The pharmaceutical sector is experiencing pressures none of which I’ve witnessed in my 36 years in the industry. I remain very confident that AstraZeneca has the capabilities, courage and determination to be successful into the future. If we maintain our focus on meeting the needs of patients and trying to solve unmet patient needs, we can continue to deliver attractive and sustained returns for our shareholders.

“The time for reflection on what has been a long and rewarding career with AstraZeneca will have to wait until I hand over responsibilities. For now, my attention remains and will continue to remain 100 percent focused on delivering our strategy.

“But I do want to say that I am proud of what we have achieved in my time as Chief Executive:

  • We have built some of the world’s leading products … that are making a meaningful difference to the lives of patients every day.
  • We have established a position in emerging markets and we continue to invest there.
  • We’ve re-shaped R&D; and we’ve taken the difficult but necessary decisions to reduce our cost base, allowing for increased investment where there are opportunities for growth opportunities.
  • And we’ve returned considerable value to shareholders.
  • At a sector-level too, we’ve tried to lead the debate on restoring trust in the pharmaceutical industry through the introduction of a bold policy on interactions with healthcare professionals.

“It’s been a genuine privilege to lead this company over the last six years or so. Now I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life, including spending more time with my family, something that is precious to me.”

Brennan’s retirement is effective June 1. The Board has asked Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer Simon Lowth to act as interim Chief Executive Officer until a permanent successor is in place.