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Gilead Sciences snares Roche executive O’Day as CEO

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FILE PHOTO: Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Daniel O’Day attends a news conference in Basel, Switzerland February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo

(Reuters) – Drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc on Monday named Roche Holding AG executive Daniel O’Day as its new chief executive, tapping an industry veteran to fill a management vacuum.

Gilead said its board had appointed Gregg Alton as interim chief executive for the period of January 1, 2019 until O’Day’s start date of March 1, 2019.

O’Day, now head of Roche’s pharmaceuticals business, joined the company in 1987 and held various roles in the United States before moving in 1998 to headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

Separately, Roche said William Anderson, current CEO of its Genentech business, would replace O’Day next year.

Anderson joined Roche in 2006, leading the immunology business unit in Genentech, and then took charge of oncology sales and marketing. In 2013, he became head of global product strategy based in Basel before assuming his current role at Genentech in 2017.

O’Day’s hiring comes about four months after Gilead said in July that Chief Executive John Milligan and Chairman John Martin would step down at the end of the year.

Gilead said on Monday that Martin would step down from the company’s board of directors, effective March 1, 2019.

Up to Friday’s close, the company’s shares have fallen nearly 14 percent since Milligan and Martin’s departures were announced by Gilead in July.

The Wall street Journal first reported O’Day’s hiring on Sunday.

Reporting by Liana Baker in New York; Additional reporting by Ismail Shakil and Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney and Sunil Nair

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