Levinson replaced as Genentech CEO by Roche employee

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Management occupations, Vice president, Genentech

Art Levinson is to step down from his role as Genentech’s CEO but will play “an active role” at the company as part of Roche’s attempts to integrate and retain the biotech’s key staff.

Throughout the bidding process there have been concerns that Roche’s takeover would eliminate Genentech’s corporate culture, result in many staff leaving the company and stifle R&D.

Genentech has already initiated an incentive scheme in an attempt to retain its 11,000 staff but ensuring that executives, in particular Levinson, stay on after the takeover has been viewed as equally important.

Roche has now revealed that Levinson will become chair of the Genentech board on May 1 and play a leading role in integrating the two companies. In addition Levinson will be put forward to join Roche’s board at the company’s annual general meeting in 2010.

Levinson will also offer guidance to Genentech's research and early development centre and join the scientific resource board, the biotech’s external advisory group.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann​, currently president Genentech product development, will also stop performing her day-to-day role at the company and take an advisory post in the second half of 2009.

Roche moves in but R&D still Genentech’s

The integration plan will result in several Roche employees taking up positions within Genentech, including Pascal Soriot, currently head of commercial operations at Roche, who will replace Levinson as CEO.

In addition Steve Krognes will become Genentech’s chief financial officer; Rick Kentz is to be appointed senior vice president (SVP) secretary and chief compliance officer; and Steve Grossmann ​will take the post of SVP regional head human resources pharma North America.

However, Roche’s assurance that Genentech research and early development group will remain independent has been reflected in the appointments, which has seen promotions from within the biotech fill key roles.

The group will be led by Richard Scheller, currently executive vice president (EVP) of Genentech research, who will report directly to group CEO Severin Schwan. Marc Tessier-Lavigne will replace Scheller as EVP of research and also become Genentech’s chief scientific officer.

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