Takeda's Sequeira to head up newly created global portfolio division, Kim to lead US unit

Several years ago, Takeda CEO Christophe Weber lamented the lack of gender diversity in the drugmaker's executive ranks. With a group of appointments Thursday, it appears the company has made strides on that front.

Takeda unveiled four executive appointments on Thursday, two affecting women leaders in key positions. Ramona Sequeira, currently Takeda's U.S. president and head of global portfolio commercialization, will take the reins at the company's newly created Global Portfolio Division. The group will bring together a variety of teams around the world to ensure Takeda can reach as many patients as possible with its new medicines, the company said.

In her new role, Sequeira will oversee Takeda's global medical, product launch strategy and vaccines units. She'll also oversee the Europe/Canada, emerging markets and China businesses. 

Before Sequeira became Takeda's U.S. head back in 2015, Weber told the Financial Times he wasn't happy with the dearth of women executives at the drugmaker. Weber became Takeda's CEO in April 2015.

"Regarding nationalities, it's very diverse. Regarding gender, it's not diverse at all," Weber previously told the FT. "I don't have a single woman on my team, so I'm working on that."

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In a second appointment this week, Takeda named Julie Kim, its plasma-derived therapies business head, its next leader of the key U.S. business. 

Thirdly, Takeda is making Gabriele Ricci its next chief data and technology officer. Ricci was previously Takeda's IT head for its plasma-derived therapies business. Lastly, Takeda named Giles Platford, currently the president of the company's Europe and Canada division, the leader of its plasma-derived therapies unit. 

Aside from those moves, the company expanded the roles of chief HR officer Lauren Duprey, chief global corporate affairs and sustainability officer Takako Ohyabu and global ethics exec Mwana Lugogo. Their new responsibilities include a focus on employee well-being, sustainability and data privacy, respectively.

RELATED: With cost cuts and asset sales largely wrapped, Takeda gears up for growth: CEO

The moves came on the same day that Takeda released its third-quarter fiscal year 2021 results. During the quarter, Takeda posted overall sales just shy of 2,700 billion yen (about $23.5 billion). The company's 14 key pharma brands turned in $9.3 billion during the quarter, a 12% increase from the same period during the prior year. Those medicines now represent 42% of Takeda's core revenues.

Notably, though, the company disclosed a delay to its dengue vaccine candidate and abandoned another drug prospect. The company had planned to receive a European opinion on its dengue vaccine by the end of March, but that will now come sometime after March, Jefferies analyst Stephen Barker wrote to clients on Thursday. The company has also abandoned Eohilia in eosinophilic esophagitis, the analyst wrote.