INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 18 Eli Lilly and Company(NYSE: LLY) today announced that Sidney Taurel, chief executive officer andchairman of the board, will retire as CEO effective March 31, 2008. Taurelwill remain chairman of the company's board of directors until December 31,2008, at which time he will retire from the board and from the company. JohnC. Lechleiter, Ph.D., currently president and chief operating officer, willassume the role of president and chief executive officer as of April 1, 2008.
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 joinedLilly in 1971 as a marketing associate in Eli Lilly International. Aftersales and marketing experiences in Brazil, Eastern Europe and France, hebecame general manager of the company's affiliate in Brazil in 1981. Hesubsequently assumed the London-based role of vice president of Lilly'sEuropean Operations in 1983, and then moved to Indianapolis in 1986 aspresident of Lilly International. In 1993 he was named an executive vicepresident of the company and president of the pharmaceutical division, and in1996 was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the corporation.
Taurel is past chairman and a current member of the executive committee ofthe board of directors of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America(PhRMA). He is also a member of the boards of both IBM Corporation andMcGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. He serves on the board of overseers of theColumbia Business School and as a trustee at the Indianapolis Museum of Art;he is on the board of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships, and serves as amember of both The Business Roundtable and the executive committee of TheBusiness Council. Taurel served on the President's Homeland Security AdvisoryCouncil (2002-2004), the President's Export Council (2005-2006), and has sinceApril 2007 served on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.He is also an officer in the French Legion of Honor.
"I am grateful to have spent nearly 37 years with this great company, anddeeply honored to have had the opportunity to lead it for the last ten. I amvery proud of what my Lilly colleagues around the world have accomplishedtogether during a decade of both successes and challenges," said Taurel. "Ibelieve 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, thecompany is operationally very sound and positioned for continued success.Second, I and the senior leadership team have laid out a vision for thecompany that will guide Lilly for many years to come, and this gives me greatconfidence about Lilly's future success. And third, John has been preparingfor his new role as my successor for several years, and 2008 is the right timefor him to assume his place as the leader of the company."
Upon Taurel's recommendation, the company's board of directors hasunanimously elected Lechleiter chief executive officer and president effectiveApril 1, 2008. Lechleiter has served as president and chief operating officersince October 2005.
Lechleiter joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in processresearch and development, and he became a head in that department in 1982. In1984 he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development forthe Lilly Research Center (Erl Wood) in Windlesham, England, and hesubsequently returned to the U.S. in 1986 as manager of research anddevelopment projects for Europe. In 1988, he became director of developmentprojects management, and in 1989 assumed additional responsibility forpharmaceutical regulatory affairs, chemistry, manufacturing and control. In1991 he was named executive director of pharmaceutical product development andbecame v