Lonza opts for pharma expertise with new CEO appointment

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: Lonza, Ceo, Roche, Novartis

Lonza appoints Pierre-Alain Ruffieux as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), replacing the outgoing CEO ad interim Albert Baehny.

The appointment, effective from 1 November 2020, frees up Baehny to resume his duties as non-executive Chairman of the Board having been at the helm of the Swiss multinational since November 2019.

“The Board is delighted to have appointed someone of Pierre-Alain’s calibre to be our next CEO,”​ says Baehny, who agreed to fill-in for the role after Lonza's previous CEO Marc Funk left the job after just nine months.

“He brings deep knowledge of our industry, scientific excellence, customer focus and a strong record of building and leading high-performing and inclusive teams. Manufacturing and process excellence are central to Lonza and our customers’ success.

“Pierre-Alain has unrivalled experience in these areas in two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies which will also be a great asset to the Lonza Group.”

Pharma experience

Ruffieux, who is currently head of global pharma technical operations at Roche, joined the pharma giants in 2015 having spent 12 years working for Novartis.

In his current position, he oversees all technical development, manufacturing, quality and related regulatory activities across Roche.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as CEO of Lonza. Having been a customer over many years, I greatly admire Lonza’s technology and people,” ​he says. “I look forward to building on its many successes in the years to come.”

In a Reuters piece​ earlier this year, Baehny said Funk's replacement should ideally have 20 years-plus of pharma experience adding that Lonza’s long-term strategic focus would be on pharma and biotech.

Funk gave no reason as to his resignation citing “personal reasons.” ​The announcement followed the resignation of Richard Ridinger, who stepped down in March 2019 having been Lonza’s CEO since 2012.

Commenting on Ruffieux’s appointment, Christoph Maeder, lead independent director adds, “We warmly welcome Pierre-Alain to Lonza and look forward to his starting in November.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I should like to thank Albert for stepping into the CEO role and for continuing to drive the company forward both operationally and strategically.”

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