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FibroGen names Lilly veteran as new CEO

Published on: 07/01/20

Eli Lilly veteran Enrique Conterno has been revealed as the new Chief Executive Officer of FibroGen following the unexpected death of its previous long-term Chief Thomas Neff in August last year.

Neff passing took the company off-guard, bringing a sad and abrupt end to his 26 years of service. In the wake of the loss, FibroGen appointed Board member James Schoeneck to lead the company until a permanent replacement could be found.

The Board of Directors has now found that replacement, voting unanimously to install Conterno in the role. Schoeneck will continue to serve as Interim President during the transition period.

“Following a comprehensive search, we are confident Enrique is the right individual to assume leadership of FibroGen at this pivotal time,” remarked Tom Kearns, previously Chairman of the Board, and Lead Independent Director. “Enrique’s nearly three decades of experience in the global healthcare industry include multiple strategic leadership roles and the oversight of several significant product launches, including the diabetes field’s first-ever cardiovascular approval. Enrique re-established Lilly’s leadership position in diabetes, growing the business from approximately $3 billion to over $10 billion in annual revenue. Enrique is extremely qualified to lead FibroGen as we prepare for the global commercialisation of roxadustat and continue the advancement of our clinical programmes.”

Conterno steps into the position after a 27-year spell with Eli Lilly, where he most recently served as President of Lilly USA, a role he took on in January 2017. Prior to this, he was President of Lilly Diabetes since 2009. After joining the company in 1992, he worked his way up through a variety of sales, marketing, finance, business development and general management roles in the US and internationally.

Of his own appointment, Conterno said: “I am energised to join a company with such an innovative pipeline, as well as the first-in-class asset roxadustat, which has the potential to change the treatment paradigm in anaemia that has seen little progress in the last 30 years. This is a tremendously exciting time for FibroGen and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with this team as we continue to apply groundbreaking science with the goal of helping patients around the world.”

Kearns added: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Jim Schoeneck for his dedicated leadership during this transition. Jim’s knowledge of the industry, as well as our science and strategy, has been instrumental in keeping the company focused on top priorities during a difficult and critical period in its development, including the filing of the roxadustat US New Drug Approval.  Jim will be instrumental in working with Enrique and the rest of the Board to continue to fulfil the founding vision for the company, bringing novel, first-in-class medicines to patients.”

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