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New COO pledges to take Takeda to the top

Kyodo

Christophe Weber, the new chief operating officer of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said Wednesday he aims to make the company the world’s leading drugmaker by drawing on his more than two decades of business experience at GlaxoSmithKline.

He said his ambition for Takeda is “being a global leader and perceived as best in class in the eyes of patients and doctors.”

Hailing from France, Weber became COO on Wednesday and will take up the presidency in June as the first non-Japanese head of the company.

Current Takeda President and Chief Executive Officer Yasuchika Hasegawa is expected to become chairman and retain the post of CEO after a shareholders’ meeting in June.

Takeda appointed Weber as part of a business reform plan designed to boost its international competitiveness and retain the No. 1 spot in the Japanese market.

While pledging to preserve Takeda’s heritage and values such as perseverance and fairness, Weber said he will try to improve the company’s business prospects.

During his career in the pharmaceutical industry, he served as president and general manager at GSK Vaccines in Belgium and in other senior positions at the British company. He also worked for GSK in the Pacific region as senior vice president and regional director of the Singapore unit.

Referring to challenges such as price competition in emerging economies and market access in Europe, he said he “will be able to give good guidance” from his experience in both mature and emerging markets in the pharmaceutical sector.

Takeda operates in more than 70 countries following its 2011 acquisition of major Swiss player Nycomed.