PhRMA hands reins to Roundtable chief

The drug industry in the U.S. has a new lead lobbyist. PhRMA has chosen John Castellani (photo) as its new president and CEO, beginning in September. He replaces Billy Tauzin, who stepped down last year amid the healthcare reform fight and now serves as a senior advisor to the trade group.

Here's some background on Castellani. For the past nine years he's been CEO of Business Roundtable, an association of corporate chief executives that lobbies for business-friendly initiatives. Before that, he worked at the oil company Tenneco, at the National Association of Manufacturers, and at the defense contractor and credit-reporting company TRW.

AstraZeneca chief David Brennan, who headed up the PhRMA search committee, praised Castellani's "exceptional policy-making experience and integrity" in a statement. "His experience in coalition building and strong reputation of working across the political divide set him apart," Brennan said. Pfizer chief Jeff Kindler, who's PhRMA's current chairman, called Castellani "the gold standard."

- see the PhRMA statement