New Lilly CEO Targets Work Force

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Ricks (left) has been with Lilly since 1996 and has served as president of Lilly Bio-Medicines since 2012. Ricks (left) has been with Lilly since 1996 and has served as president of Lilly Bio-Medicines since 2012.

The incoming chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) says one of his main focuses will be to strengthen the company's relationships with the city and state to ensure "our home is one where the best and brightest in the world want to come and stay and work." Dave Ricks, who will take over for the retiring John Lechleiter January 1, says pairing a strong drug pipeline and employee culture will allow the company to "realize our growth potential in an increasingly challenging global marketplace."

Lechleiter says, as the company transitions from a period of patent expirations to "a new era of growth," it is a "logical time" for him to step down. He says the move will "disruptions in the progress of our pipeline." During a conference call with investors this week, Vice President of Investor Relations Phil Johnson said the worst of the impact from the loss of exclusivity of Zyprexa, Cymbalta and Avista is "largely in the rear view mirror." During that call, Chief Financial Officer Derica Rice said Lilly is optimistic about developments in potential gastric, colorectal and lung cancer treatments in its growing pipeline.

Lilly says Ricks will assume the role of president and chief executive officer on January 1, 2017, and will become chairman of the board on June 1, 2017. Lechleiter calls Ricks a "capable, decisive and energetic leader who is very well prepared to succeed me as CEO."

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