Eli Lilly appoints pres, CEO as chairman of board

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Eli Lilly’s board of directors has appointed John C. Lechleiter, PhD, chairman of the board effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Lechleiter, the current president and CEO of Lilly, will succeed outgoing chairman Sidney Taurel, who plans to retire from the company and the board, effective Dec. 31.

The Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly said its board also announced that, at the time of his retirement, Taurel will be designated chairman emeritus in recognition of his contributions to the company during his tenure as chairman and CEO.

Eli Lilly said Taurel served as CEO July 1998 through April of this year, and has served as its chairman since Jan. 1, 1999. He is past chairman of the board of directors of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and serves as a member of the executive committee of The Business Council. He is also a member of the boards of both IBM and McGraw-Hill Companies, as well as the board of overseers of the Columbia Business School in New York City.

Lechleiter joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development, and he became a head in that department in 1982, the company said. In 1984, he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Center in Windlesham, England, and he subsequently returned to the U.S. in 1986 as manager of research and development projects for Europe.