Bayer CEO's long goodbye: Dekkers to depart at end of 2016

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers

Marijn Dekkers has set his own expiration date as Bayer CEO. The German conglomerate said Dekkers would leave at the end of 2016, giving him 7 years in the top slot. It's the latest in a series of executive moves at Bayer, whose HealthCare division has been outperforming the rest of the company.

Obviously, Bayer has plenty of time to decide who will take Dekkers' place. For now, CFO Werner Baumann will take on the role of chief strategy and portfolio officer, to "ensure continuity in key aspects of Bayer's future development." Replacing Baumann as CFO will be Johannes Dietsch, who's now CFO in China. That switch will take place October 1.

Equally as obvious is the fact that Dekkers is leaving on his own; if not, he wouldn't be sticking around till the verge of 2017. "In line with his own wishes, the contract of Dr. Marijn Dekkers will be extended by just two years on expiration of the initial five-year period," the company said in a statement. "Dekkers cited family reasons for extending his contract only until the end of 2016."

Dekkers has been an outspoken CEO, particularly when touting the progress of Bayer's pharma division. And that pharma business has been performing well, with sales growth helping to make up shortfalls in other Bayer units. Most recently, Dekkers predicted that Bayer's top 5 new drugs--including the anticoagulant Xarelto and vision-loss treatment Eylea--will together hit peak sales of at least 7.5 billion euros, or about $10.3 billion. The company is socking an additional half-billion euros into R&D and marketing to build sales of those meds.

Meanwhile, Dekkers has also been scouting deals; most recently, Bayer spent $14 billion for Merck & Co.'s ($MRK) consumer unit, a leap toward its goal of leading the consumer health market. The two companies combined brought in $7.4 billion in 2013 consumer sales, which would put Bayer in second place behind Novartis ($NVS) and GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) new consumer health joint venture.

The announcement of Dekkers' departure comes less than a week after Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals President Andreas Fibig said he would leave to take on the CEO job at International Flavors and Fragrances. Fibig will depart September 1, almost a year after Bayer replaced its former HealthCare CEO, Joerg Reinhardt, with a top Pfizer executive, Olivier Brandicourt. Reinhardt had left to be chairman of Novartis.

- read the statement from Bayer

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