SEARLE's PROMOTION OF DONALD RUMSFELD TO CHAIRMAN
SEARLE's PROMOTION OF DONALD RUMSFELD TO CHAIRMAN, succeeding Daniel Searle, will provide topside stability as the company refocuses its attention away from divestitures and toward re-establishing itself as a research intensive pharmaceutical firm. Rumsfeld's move to the chairman spot indicates that he has apparently decided to forego a career move back into politics and will stick with Searle for a few more years. The promotion becomes effective June 1. After 31 years with the firm, including the last eight years as chairman, Daniel Searle, 59, is retiring. However, he will continue to hold a seat on the Searle board. With Searle's retirement, Rumsfield, 52, will become the first person outside of the Searle family to serve as chairman since the company was founded in 1888. In addition to the Rumsfeld promotion, Exec VP and Chief Operating Officer John Robson, 54, will assume the title of president. James Denny, 53, currently senior VP and chief financial planning officer, will become exec VP. Management responsibilities for Searle's top three will not change. Searle is currently gearing up for what could be its first major new drug launch worldwide since the introduction of Norpace in 1977. A year ago Searle filed an NDA for its prostaglandin anti-ulcer agent Cytotec (misoprostil) in the U.S.; the drug is currently approved in Mexico and is pending approval in over 30 countries worldwide. Searle also filed an NDA last year for another prostaglandin product, Cergem (gemeprost), for cervical dilation. Highlighting Searle's R&D efforts at the firm's recent annual shareholder meeting, Rumsfeld noted that "coming along behind Cytotec, there is now a pipeline of more than a dozen potential products in various therapeutic areas, which could provide a continuum of new patient-protected pharmaceutical products over the next period of years."
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