Thursday, April 16, 2009

Genentech Executives Leave as Roche, Soriot Arrive

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Genentech Inc., the biotechnology company bought by Roche Holding AG for $46.8 billion, lost its chief financial officer, head of product development and compliance manager after the Swiss drugmaker named a new chief executive officer for the unit.

Pascal Soriot, 49, who now heads Roche’s commercial pharmaceutical operations, will become Genentech’s CEO, responsible for all U.S. pharmaceutical operations, beginning May 1. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, 51, the product development leader who has been a Genentech executive since 1995, will leave at mid-year and join the Genentech Scientific Resource Board, Roche said in a statement yesterday.

The changes begin the company’s transformation to a team- oriented culture from one that supports individual scientific enterprise, said Stephen Burrill, a venture capitalist who invests in biotechnology companies. Soriot will succeed current Genentech’s Arthur Levinson, 59, who will stay on as chairman. Roche officials also will take over from the other departing executives, the company said.

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