Eli Lilly bids farewell to longtime digital chief Shah

Eli Lilly's Aarti Shah
Lilly's CIO and head of digital plans to retire next year after almost three decades and a wide-ranging career at the pharma. (Eli Lilly)(Eli Lilly)

After 27 years at the company, Eli Lilly’s chief information and digital officer Aarti Shah is packing up. Shah will retire next year, and Lilly is currently conducting a search for her replacement.

Shah has held the top digital spot since 2016, the same year she was named one of Fierce Pharma’s Fierce Women in Life Sciences.

At the time, she told Fierce that while becoming CIO had not been her goal when she joined, she was excited to tackle the challenge and create cross-platform partnerships.

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“If you’re talking about commercial, you need digital marketers, information technology and business analysts to come up with the next wave of innovation,” she said at the time. “In discovery, it’s the same thing. You need scientists, biochemists, statisticians and technology people all working together. Innovation happens at the cross section of different disciplines.”

Before becoming CIO, Shah was head of global brand development of Lilly’s Bio-Medicines unit, and before that VP of biometrics. She joined Lilly in 1994 as a senior statistician and helped to bring post-menopausal osteoporosis drug Evista to market.

Shah’s time at Lilly spanned nine different job titles and two continents. She has helped develop drugs; steered treatments through approval processes; worked in information sciences, biometrics and analytics; and led global teams supporting drugs from discovery through commercialization.

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Lilly Chairman and CEO David Ricks praised Shah for her leadership and her contributions as a member of the executive committee.

Shah "led the development of our digital and information strategy, which will serve the company well for years to come. She has been a leader that models the Lilly values, has developed and mentored talent throughout the organization, and has demonstrated a deep care for the patients we aim to serve. Aarti will be missed by us all,” he said in a press release.