AstraZeneca, Wyeth anoint new execs

Two new Big Pharma execs, two different approaches. Choosing stability over change, Wyeth announced that it would promote No. 2 Bernard Poussot (photo) to president and CEO as of January 1. He will replace retiring CEO Robert Essner. It's to be an orderly succession, with a transition period à la new U.S. presidents, giving Poussot a chance to strategize while Essner still holds the reins. Essner will stay on as chairman after January 1, until the transition is complete.

AstraZeneca opted for the overhaul. As rumored, the company decided to get an outsider's perspective, appointing Scottish Power exec Simon Lowth as its new CFO. Not only is Lowth from a completely different industry, he's also a seasoned objective observer: He spent 15 years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co., a firm that's never shy about recommending radical restructuring, including big-time cost cutting. Lowth also was part of the team that overhauled Scottish Power--slashing costs along the way--and helped negotiate its sale to Iberdrola in May. Lowth replaces Jon Symonds, who left the drug maker for Goldman Sachs Group in June.

- see Wyeth's press release
- read AstraZeneca's press release

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