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Shire loses finance chief to Severn Trent

SHIRE, the UK drugmaker, will lose its interim chief financial officer to FTSE 100 water company Severn Trent early next year.

James Bowling will leave Shire, where he has been since 2004, first as head of group reporting and from 2008 as group financial controller, at the end of the first quarter of 2015 to succeed retiring CFO Mike McKeon at Severn Trent.

“It is an exciting time to be joining this outstanding company and I look forward to building on the solid foundation that Mike leaves,” said Bowling.

His departure comes a week after US pharmaceutical giant AbbieVie aborted its planned $55bn (£34bn) acquisition of Shire. AbbieVie’s board recommended that shareholders vote against the deal because US Treasury plans to curb so-called tax inversion deals had introduced an “unacceptable level of uncertainty” to the acquisition.

The technique sees US companies seek mergers and acquisitions abroad in a bid to redomicile their tax base overseas and thereby cut tax costs. It was the method undertaken by Pfizer in its ill-fated attempt to acquire AstraZeneca, and has since been considered by hedge fund Marcato Capital in its move for Intercontinental Hotels.

Bowling is a qualified chartered accountant, having started his career with Touche Ross. He brings to Severn Trent financial management, M&A and business transformation experience.

To further drive the effectiveness of the board, Severn Trent is to reduce its size from eleven directors to eight, comprising two executive directors and six non-executive directors, with effect from 23 January 2015.

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