Bayer chief looks to pump up pharma unit

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers (photo) sees his plastics division as a chip he might cash in for M&A. In an interview with the Financial Times, Dekkers said he plans to keep Bayer's three big units--pharma, crop sciences and materials--but that it's the first two he's focusing on for growth. He's aiming to expand the pharma business to 60 percent of total company sales.

"We'll stay with the three strategic groups as long as they are competitive in their particular areas," Dekkers told the newspaper, adding that he would only sell material sciences "if we wanted to do something so big that we had to use it as currency."

Bayer has been streamlining globally, cutting jobs mostly in developed markets while staffing up for expansion in Asia. To help support that expansion, Dekkers also wants to further diversify the company's executive ranks. He's the first non-German to serve as CEO. "We are trying to get more talent, especially in the growth countries where the familiarity of western expatriates is less," Dekkers said. "In China it's extremely hard for people not living and working there to truly judge what the customer needs."

- read the FT interview