PROFIT AND SALES tumbled for the seventh consecutive quarter at AstraZeneca, underscoring the challenge facing new chief financial officer Marc Dunoyer, who was appointed today.
Dunoyer, who joined from rival GlaxoSmithKline in June and current heads product strategy, will replace Simon Lowth, whose departure to join gas and oil producer BG Group was previously announced.
The British drugmaker has struggled under the loss of patent protection on a number of key drugs, which accounted for around $350m (£218m) of the drop in sales during the quarter. Overall sales fell 6% in the quarter to $6.25bn, while pre-tax profits slumped 20% to $1.59bn, compared to the same quarter last year.
Fabian Wenner, an analyst with Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich, suggested the appointment of a new CFO will raise expectations the company will quicken the pace of acquisitions to replace lost revenue.
“The key issue is the top line,” Wenner, told Bloomberg in an interview. “They can counter by cost-cutting but the question is what’s going to happen long-term?”
A qualified accountant, Dunoyer has extensive experience working in the pharmaceutical industry with roles at Roussel Uclaf in Paris, and 13 years at GSK, where he served as regional president Asia Pacific & Japan before becoming global head of rare diseases and chairman of GSK Japan.
Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Following a thorough and extensive search it became clear that Marc possessed the rare blend of financial, business and science experience that will be critical in this role in the coming years as we focus on returning AstraZeneca to growth and achieving scientific leadership.”