Indianapolis-based Centric Inc. has named John Lechleiter the 2017 Excellence in Innovation Award winner. Part of the Indiana Innovation Awards, the Excellence in Innovation Award recognizes an individual whose career body of work reflects continued success and innovative leadership in the state of Indiana. The winner of the Excellence in Innovation Award is selected by Centric’s board of directors.

Lechleiter joins an elite group of past winners that includes Jim McClelland, Ellen Rosenthal, Mitch Daniels, Michael Crowther and Allison Melangton. He retired as Eli Lilly and Co.’s president and chief executive officer on December 31, 2016. Lechleiter originally joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development and became head of that department in 1982. In 1984, he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Centre Limited in Windlesham, England. Lechleiter later held roles in project management, regulatory affairs, product development, and pharma operations. In 2005, he was named Lilly president and chief operating officer and joined the board of directors.

Lechleiter became CEO on April 1, 2008. He is credited with successfully guiding Lilly through the patent expirations for four of its main products (Gemzar, Zyprexa, Cymbalta and Evista), and for establishing a promising pipeline of possible new drugs. He continues to serve as chairman of the board of directors for Eli Lilly and Co., a position he has held since 2009.

Lechleiter is a member of the American Chemical Society and chairman of the United Way Worldwide. He also serves on the boards of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Great Lakes Chemical Corp., Nike Inc. and Ford Motor Co. Lechleiter received the 2015 International Citizen of the Year Award from the International Center of Indianapolis and in 2014, was named as the August W. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year for his work supporting the development of the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute.

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