Bayer selects Thermo's Dekkers as next CEO

Bayer announced today that it is bidding farewell to several of its top executives. The company's CEO for the last 8 years--Werner Wenning (photo)--will depart on September 30, 2010, to be replaced by Thermo Fisher Scientific's CEO Marijn Dekkers (photo). It's the first time an outsider has been named CEO of Bayer in the company's 146-year history.

The 51-year-old Dekkers has a lot of deal-making experience under his belt. The CEO, who has both U.S. and Dutch citizenship, helped engineer Thermo Electron Corp.'s $10.6 billion buyout of Fisher Scientific International in 2006. Thermo Fisher is now the world's largest maker of lab instruments. Bayer's choice of Dekkers raises the possibility that the company could be in the market for deals in the U.S. and Asia. "Reading between the lines this could mean that the company wants to continue to put more emphasis on health care," analyst Cornelia Thomas speculated in an interview with Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, two other top Bayer execs are leaving the company. CFO Klaus Kühn (photo) has elected to retire next year and will be replaced by board member Werner Baumann (photo). Thomas notes that Baumann also has experience with dealmaking, having been very involved in Bayer's buyout of Schering. Bayer Healthcare CEO Arthur Higgins (photo) is leaving the company "at his own request." Higgins will leave during the first half of 2010, at which point Dekkers will serve as CEO of Bayer HealthCare during the transition phase.

- check out Bayer's release
- here's the Bloomberg article