SMITHKLINE BEECHAM EXEC JAMES ANDRESS LEAVING DRUG BUSINESS
SMITHKLINE BEECHAM EXEC JAMES ANDRESS LEAVING DRUG BUSINESS to head Information Resources Inc., a Chicago-based company that provides information services to the packaged goods industry. Andress -- who currently is chairman of SmithKline Beecham health care products and services and is responsible for OTCs, animal health and clinical labs -- will join Information Resources as president and CEO on Nov. 6. Andress joined Beecham in July 1988 as chairman of the company's worldwide prescription pharmaceuticals business. After the merger, the top drug job went to SmithKline President John Chappell, presumably in deference to SmithKline's larger role in the important U.S. pharmaceutical market. The non-drug businesses represent just under half of the combined SmithKline-Beecham sales (49%, based on 1988 figures), but they do not draw the outside attention from the investment community that the prescription business does. Andress, 50, had joined Beecham from Sterling, where he served as president and chief operating officer. He left Sterling shortly after the company's acquisition by Kodak. Andress was widely perceived as one of the moving forces behind the SmithKline-Beecham combo. As such, he will not be alone among top execs who are hired to expand a business rapidly during the hot merger period and subsequently depart after a successful deal is accomplished. The departure of Andress could contribute to the post-merger angst at the merged companies. Industry circles continue to be rife with whispers of further major personnel cuts at the merged companies. Big cuts have been a hallmark of Beecham mergers in the past. The company said that it has no present plans to fill Andress' spot. The consumer brands, animal health care and clinical labs businesses will now report directly to SmithKline Beecham Chief Executive Robert Bauman. Founded 10 years ago, Information Resources had 1988 revenues of $130 mil. The firm's principal product is Infoscan, a computerized service that provides brandshare information on packaged goods from supermarket scanning machine tapes. Information Resources was the subject of a friendly takeover offer from Dun & Bradstreet in 1987, but the Fderal Trade Commission ruled against the merger. The company's most recent annual report attributes to the aborted takeover a slowdown in sales that resulted in a $4 mil. loss in 1987. The firm had recorded $10 mil. in net earnings in 1986 and recovered from the 1987 loss with $267,000 net earnings in 1988. Commenting on his move to Information Resources, Andress said: "I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to head a rapidly growing, entrepreneurial firm such as IRI, and in my hometown of Chicago to boot. I believe the information field, in particular, is poised for explosive growth and I believe my experience can help keep IRI on the leading edge."
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