April 26 - AstraZeneca Chief Executive David Brennan is to step down on June 1 in an abrupt exit after six years in the top job, following rising investor discontent at the company's performance. Hayley Platt reports.
Investors have been growing concerned about the performance of AstraZeneca for some time Now after more than six years at the helm of Britain's second biggest drug maker chief executive David Brennan is stepping down. The company is facing a sales slump - down 11 percent in the first quarter - and the surprise move has stoked fears about its long term prospects. A number of AstraZeneca's drug patents have either expired or are about to expire and it has few new drugs in development to replace them. It's also continued to rely on prescription medicines while rivals diversify. Brennan has tried to placate shareholders by slashing jobs to cut costs. His plan returned billions in share buybacks and dividends but many say his strategy is unsustainable. AstraZeneca said Brennan will be replaced in June by Chief Financial Officer Simon Lowth until a permanent successor is found The company's Chairman Louis Schweitzer is also leaving then - three months early. Shares fell more than five per cent after the news was announced. Hayley Platt, Reuters.