AstraZeneca specialty-care execs out as commercial shake-up moves on

The ongoing shuffle-and-cut at AstraZeneca ($AZN) has two U.S. higher-ups headed for the exit. As the Washington Business Journal reports, the company's new specialty care unit will lose its top executive, Scott Carmer, and finance chief, Tim Gray.

The specialty products business was born out of an operational restructuring announced in January. MedImmune, which had operated mostly independently since AstraZeneca bought it in 2007, was split three ways and integrated into the larger company. As part of that, sales and marketing joined up with AstraZeneca's North American commercial operations in a newly created specialty products division.

Carmer, who ran the commercial side of MedImmune's business, was put at the helm of the new group. Gray, MedImmune's CFO, became the top finance executive in specialty products. Now, just 10 months later, both are on their way out.

AstraZeneca wouldn't say why Carmer and Gray are leaving. Voluntary or not, their departures could be part of the ripple effect from ongoing changes at the top. Pascal Soriot took over as CEO last year, and in January, he shook up top management. The MedImmune split was part of that; on the AstraZeneca side of things, Soriot swept aside commercial EVP Tony Zook and split those operations geographically, with North America under the wing of EVP Paul Hudson.

Then, in March, Soriot announced a sweeping restructuring that would carve 2,300 jobs out of sales and administration. As part of that, AstraZeneca planned to consolidate U.S. marketing operations and the specialty care unit in Gaithersburg, MD, which happens to be MedImmune's former headquarters.

Since then, those changes have been moving from drawing board to reality. During the third-quarter earnings call, CFO Simon Lowth--also on his way out for a new job at BG Group--said that the company has been beefing up investment in marketing Brilinta, the blood thinner, and in diabetes sales, especially in the U.S. Meanwhile, its SG&A restructuring costs--expected to hit $790 million, all told--added up to $560 million by the end of the third quarter.

- check out the Washington Business Journal story

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