IBJNews

Lilly CEO to step down temporarily due to surgery

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

John Lechleiter will temporarily relinquish the reins of Eli Lilly and Co. on May 13 while he undergoes and recovers from cardiovascular surgery, the Indianapolis-based drugmaker announced late Monday afternoon.

Derica Rice, Lilly’s chief financial officer, will become acting CEO in Lechleiter’s absence. And Ellen Marram, the lead independent director on Lilly’s board of directors, will be acting chairman of the board.

Lechleiter, 59, has been suffering from a dilated aorta, which is a swelling that can cause a rupture and bleeding in the main artery that carries blood from the heart. The company said the problem was discovered during unrelated testing and has not produced any visible symptoms.

Lechleiter will undergo a procedure in Indianapolis in which a portion of his aorta will be removed and replaced with a graft, said Lilly spokesman Ed Sagebiel. He declined to disclose where the surgery would take place.

He will be recuperating for months, but is expected to return to the company “later this summer,” Lilly’s press release said. Sagebiel said he could not be more specific, since Lechleiter’s return will hinge on his recovery.

“John wants to come back at full strength,” Sagebiel said. He added, “It is a serious condition. Left untreated it could be life-threatening.”

Lechleiter has been Lilly’s CEO for five years. He is leading the company thorugh one of its most difficult periods, during which the company saw its U.S. and European patents expire on its bestseller Zyprexa in 2011 and will see its current bestseller Cymbalta lose patent protection at the end of this year.

"I am grateful to be under the care of a world-class medical team located right here in Indianapolis," said Lechleiter. "The board of directors and I have the utmost confidence in Ellen, Derica, and our Lilly leadership team. The company will be in very good hands during my leave. I look forward to returning to work following my recovery."

Rice, 48, has been Lilly’s CFO since 2006 and executive vice president of global services since 2010. He is the highest-ranking African-American executive at Lilly.

An Alabama native, Rice began his Lilly career as an international treasury associate in finance. He moved on to sales and advanced into management. He served as director of finance for Lilly Canada and then general manager of Lilly's United Kingdom affiliate before becoming executive director of finance for Lilly's European operations.

Marram, 66, is also the former CEO of two consumer products companies: the Nabisco Biscuit Co. and Pepsico's Tropicana. She has served on the Lilly board since 2002 and is also a member of the board of directors of Ford Motor Co. and The New York Times Co.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?

ADVERTISEMENT