Pharma in India shakes up executive ranks at Ranbaxy, Cipla, others

A slew of senior executives at the Ranbaxy unit of India's Sun Pharmaceutical and Cipla are likely polishing up their LinkedIn profiles and calling head hunters as something of a cull sweeps through management ranks at those companies and wider, highlighting deep changes in the industry.

Sun asked 18 top Ranbaxy executives to leave this week, according to the Financial Express, including Indrajit Banerjee, president and chief financial officer; Yugal Sikri, India head; Maninder Singh, vice president of marketing; and Govind Jaju, the global head for sourcing, among others.

The departures, the newspaper said, are part of a widely expected reshuffle as Sun moves to digest a deal that bought Ranbaxy from Daiichi for $4 billion.

Sun is now focused on restoring the fortunes of four Ranbaxy manufacturing units banned by the U.S. FDA.

Meanwhile, the Times of India notes that Cipla has seen as many as 8 senior-level exits over the last year, with a majority of them being department heads.

The exits included Rajesh Garg, chief financial officer, Navin Garg, head of human resources, and V.S. Mani, head of finance, sources told the newspaper, adding that some left because of "personal reasons."

Cipla saw longtime backer and Managing Director Y.K. Hamied step down in 2013, and Subhanu Saxena from Swiss major Novartis ($NVS) joined the company.

Indian companies are responding to widespread changes in sales and marketing models and home and abroad, as well as the realization that the low-cost manufacturing model of the past is withering under stepped-up quality demands by the U.S. FDA and other regulators.

In April, reports surfaced that about a dozen of India's drugmakers are changing the way they market their drugs by jettisoning their traditional medical sales representatives and hiring recent graduates with management degrees.

The Financial Express, citing a report by Press Trust of India, said a Sun spokesman indirectly confirmed the management changes.

"If there are few employees who could not be positioned appropriately, the organization will make all attempts to handle the same in a fair, transparent and sensitive manner," the spokesman was quoted as saying.

At the multinational level, Pfizer ($PFE) India-chief Aijaz "Jazz" Tobaccowalla will move to "a new global role" with the parent company, according to BusinessLine.

The newspaper also said domestic company Biocon's research and development president, Abhijit Barve, is moving back to the U.S., but for personal reasons.

- here are stories from the Financial ExpressBusinessLine and Times of India