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BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB POST-GELB: THREE CONTENDERS

Executive Summary

BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB POST-GELB: THREE CONTENDERS are left in the current top management group for the top spot to be vacated by Chairman Richard Gelb in June 1993. The number of likely successors to Gelb was reduced to three following the recently announced retirement of Vice-Chairman William Miller, effective Jan. 1, 1991. The three senior BMS execs in line behind Gelb are Wayne Davidson (the top pharmaceutical business officer); Charles Heimbold (consumer products, medical devices, planning and development); and Michael Autera (chief financial officer and head of administration). Miller, the BMS representative to the board of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and a former chairman of that association, has been with BMS for 26 years. He has been vice chairman of the company for the last five years. For the five years prior to that, Miller headed the combined Bristol drug businesses. He is 62 and will be 65 at the time of Gelb's planned retirement. The next tier of senior management is comprised of execs about five or more years younger. In an executive bulletin, BMS Chairman Gelb credited Miller with the consolidation of the company's pharmaceutical marketing operations in the U.S. during the mid-1980s. "Bill of course, played a key role in the decisions that led to those very significant changes," Gelb said. "His record of achievement speaks for itself, and he can take great pride in knowing that he had such a positive impact on our business." BMS has acted quickly to clarify the top levels of authority in the wake of last year's Squibb merger. Within a year of the merger, the top heirs-apparent from the Squibb side have left; Squibb Chairman Richard Furlaud has departed; and Miller is retiring. The Gelbs, Richard and his brother Bruce (who heads the U.S. Information Agency in the Bush Administration), came to the top of BMS from the consumer products side and Clairol. One of the interesting sidelights to watch as BMS chooses an arrangement for 1993 will be how the company balances the pharmaceutical and other businesses in the top management team. With the incorporation of the Squibb business, the prescription side of the business has gained more prominence. Davidson, the head of that business, has the longest tenure with BMS among the senior management group, but his experience has been devoted to the pharmaceutical side of the business. The other two senior execs have broader backgrounds relative to the overall BMS operations.
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