Daiichi hands CEO post to EVP Nakayama

Daiichi Sankyo has joined the club of drugmakers shuffling their executive line-ups. The Japanese pharma has tapped SVP and Japan President Joji Nakayama as president and CEO. The longtime Daiichi exec would replace current chief Takashi Shoda, who'll take a step up to the chairman's office. Current chair Kiyoshi Morita will step aside, becoming a corporate adviser.

The company says in a statement that the executive moves are designed to accelerate "the deployment of a hybrid business model" and to advance Daiichi toward its goal of "becoming a global pharma innovator by 2015." The company was formed with the 2005 merger of Sankyo and Daiichi Pharmaceutical.

Here's some background on Nakayama: He has an MBA from Northwestern University in Chicago, and upon graduation from the program joined the Japanese drugmaker Suntory Holdings. He worked his way up the ladder there to become president and CEO of that unit when Daiichi bought out Suntory in 2002. Since then, he's served in a variety of corporate roles, heading up the company's European and U.S. operations at one point.

Nakayama will take the helm at a time when the company is forecasting a drop in profits of about 18 percent for the year that will end March 2011. But analysts seem to think that Daiichi's ownership of Indian generics maker Ranbaxy Laboratories will help bolster sales going forward; it certainly aided the most recent quarterly results. We'll have to wait and see how the numbers stack up.

- get the release from Daiichi
- see the Nikkei news
- get more from Reuters
- read the Bloomberg article