Bureaucratic Shakeup and More Layoffs at Merck?

Posted in BioBusiness

The Twitterverse was buzzing with activity late last week about a possible shakeup at Merck as Roger Perlmutter takes control as its new head of R&D.  As many of you may know, Perlmutter used to work at Merck but left to become Amgen’s Executive VP of R&D when Peter Kim, the now former Head of Merck’s R&D, was hired several years

Kim’s tenure at Merck was rife with missteps, misdirection and drug approval failures. So, when Amgen replaced its CEO and Merck fired Kim, Perlmutter saw an opportunity to return to the fold with Merck now under the tutelage of CEO Ken Frazier (the man who engineered the company’s Vioxx legal strategy).

Fierce Biotech substantiated the Twitter rumors that a major shakeup may be underway at Merck. According to an article published early on Friday, a Merck spokesperson confirmed that Perlmutter is indeed shaking things up and reorganizing Merck’s R&D infrastructure.

The spokesperson said

“I can confirm that some members of management, but not all Franchise leadership, are leaving the company but are working to ensure a smooth transition.”

The departure of several senior leaders was later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal.  While not confirmed, rumors suggested that Rupert Vessey will lead Merck’s Discovery and Early Development programs.

While Merck spends close to $8 billion annually on R&D, its late stage development pipeline is thin and Perlmutter was hired to strengthen it. Changes at the top usually mean that other changes will take place among the rank and file. That said, stay tuned for possible additional layoffs among Merck R&D personnel.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!

Shuffling of Executives at Novartis: Vasella is Out as CEO

Posted in BioBusiness

The Pharmalot blog authored by the intrepid Ed Silverman today reported that Dan Vasella is out as CEO at Novartis and there has been an executive shake up at the company. According to the post, Vasella is reliquishing his post a CEO but retaining his chairman title For a complete run down and a glimpse at the new Novartis org chart read Ed’s post

Vasella has come under fire (literally and figuratively) over the past year or so.  Industry insiders and Novartis shareholders contended that he couldn’t manage the day-to-day operations of companies and succeed as Chairman. Also, Vasella was the victim of  unwarranted, vicious attacks by animal rights activists who publicly denounced him and set his home on fire!

Vasella, one of the few physicians to head a pharmaceutical company, held the top position since 1996 following the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy to form Novartis. The company has expanded in to new therapeutic areas and markets and performed well under Vasella’s stewardship. However, many industry experts contend that ten years is the optimum tenure for most life sciences CEOs. What’s four years in the scheme of things?

Until next time….

 Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!