Sidney Taurel, chief executive officer and chairman of Eli Lilly & Co., will retire as CEO at the end of March, 2008. He will remain chairman 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.
Mr. 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.
"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 10. I am very proud of what my Lilly colleagues around the world have accomplished together during a decade of both successes and challenges," said Mr. 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."
Mr. Taurel's successor, Mr. Lechleiter, has served as president and chief operating officer since October 2005. He joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process R&D, 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 R&D 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. Mr. 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.
"I am humbled and excited by this opportunity to lead Eli Lilly and Co., 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 Mr. Lechleiter. "We will be guided by an exciting new vision for our future that places individual patient outcomes at the core of our endeavors."