AbbVie says Robert Michael to replace Richard Gonzalez as CEO in July, ET HealthWorld

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New York: AbbVie on Tuesday said its chief operating officer Robert Michael would succeed Richard Gonzalez as chief executive officer of the drugmaker on July 1.

Gonzalez, 70, who has been the company’s CEO since it was formed through a spin-off from Abbott in 2013, will become executive chairman of AbbVie’s board once he steps down.

During Gonzales’s decade as CEO, AbbVie nearly tripled its sales revenue. The company grew from $18.8 billion in 2013 to $54.32 billion last year, mostly on the back of its blockbuster arthritis drug Humira, which was the world’s best-selling medicine as recently as 2022.

AbbVie’s shares have surged more than 400 per cent since it was formed, giving it a market capitalization of over $300 billion as of Friday’s closing price.

During his leadership, particularly over AbbVie’s legal strategy to protect Humira from competition. The company built a wall of more than 130 patents around the drug that kept close copies off the U.S. market for five years longer than in Europe.

Michael has been part of AbbVie since its formation and has also served as the Chicago-based drugmaker’s chief financial officer. He became AbbVie’s chief operating officer in 2023.

Gonzalez said in a statement that AbbVie’s board had been planning for the succession for some time and that the announcement was spurred by the drugmaker’s “strong position for the long term”.

When asked about succession plans at the company’s conference call earlier this month, Gonzalez said the company would announce a change when it felt it had comfortably navigated new U.S. competition for Humira.

He said the board had been actively involved for the last 4 or 5 years to make sure that internal candidates at the company were given the necessary experience ahead of the move.

AbbVie reported earlier this month that Humira U.S. sales plunged by 35 per cent to $12.16 billion last year, but said it expected the drug to maintain broad insurance coverage in 2024, helping it achieve sales of $9.6 billion.

The company also raised its 2027 forecast for sales of its immunology drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq to $27 billion, up $6 billion from its previous prediction.

  • Published On Feb 21, 2024 at 04:27 PM IST

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