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Shire appoints Emmens as new chief executive

Published on 31/10/03 at 12:16pm

Matthew Emmens, former head of Merck KGaA's global prescription group, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Shire Pharmaceuticals.

The UK specialist pharma company embarked on what it called a global search for a new head after long-standing Chief Executive Rolf Stahel announced his departure last year.

Shire is hoping Mr Emmens will be able reverse a steep decline in the company's share price, first sparked by a veiled price warning in February 2002.

It is thought that a damaging rift between the UK and US sides of the company forced Mr Stahel to leave after US non-executive directors and shareholders became increasingly unhappy with the company's performance.

The company nevertheless exceeded revenue and earnings growth guidance for 2002, with the company switching its number one product, attention deficit disorder drug Adderall, to an extended release formulation, achieving annual sales of £1 billion in the US for the first time.

But the recent granting of an FDA approvable letter for the company's kidney disease treatment Fosrenol was marred by a demand for additional data and analysis, which may delay the drugs launch into 2004.

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