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Charles River restructures as president sets retirement date

Published on 14/07/09 at 11:19am

Charles River Laboratories has unveiled a major shake-up its business and sales activities as part of a reorganisation prompted by the retirement of Real Renaud, president of its Research Models and Services (RMS) unit.

Renaud's decision to step down has placed Charles River Laboratories (CRL) in a transition phase which in turn has spurred a reshuffle in top management. Heading the list of movers is Dr David Molho, who is promoted to corporate senior vice president and takes overall control of the RMS division, having formerly been in charge of the European operation.

The reorganisation affects mainly CRL's preclinical services (PCS) division, which will see its organisational structure modified to provide a "dual-accountability structure with both global functional teams and site-level management", CRL said in a statement. The aim is to boost the "harmonisation and integration" of all PCS' services.

In other words, CRL intends to present a single, uniform face to its clients, regardless of the actual facility or personnel carrying out the research. Other benefits from the reorganisation will be a standardisation of processes across the business units, which the firm said would enable it to reduce drug cycle development times and cost for its customers.

"Our clients are transforming their business models, and in order to continue to provide the superior client service which they have come to expect from us, we must evolve with them," commented CRL's chief executive James Wheeler.

Like most of its peers in the contract research sector, CRL has seen a downturn its revenues and operating profits since the middle of last year on the back of softer demand from customers. However, the firm recently said that the downturn in PCS and RMS may be coming to an end, with order books, pricing and inquiry levels 'stabilising'.

A revamp of the company's sales structure means the company will now segment its salesforce to target three discrete groups - global biopharmaceutical companies, small- and mid-sized pharma and biotech companies, and the academic and government sector.

Meanwhile, executive changes in the PCS unit prompted by the reorganisation include senior vice president Brian Bathgate adding responsibility for global laboratory sciences operations to his current duties running CRL's global biopharma services.

Senior vice president Christopher Perkin will oversee site operations in North America and China, while vice president Stephen Durham will run the group's global toxicology and pathology operations and vice president Joseph Siglin will run the company's global Lean Six Sigma programme.

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