The man considered most likely to take over the helm at Novo Nordisk, Kåre Schultz, had a good reason for suddenly leaving the company. He accepted the top job at Lundbeck, which has been without a chief executive since its CEO left amid controversy in November 2014.
Lundbeck announced Schultz’s appointment Wednesday along with first-quarter results, which showed a $4.8 million loss before interest and taxes.
“His most important task is, of course, to see that we return to sustainable profitability as soon as possible, which means exploring all possible avenues to increase sales,” Lundbeck chairman Haakon Bjorklund told Reuters. Lundbeck is relying on a few new drugs to help offset patent losses.
Schultz’s experience at Novo Nordisk and reputation may have helped boost Lundbeck shares by 25 percent when his appointment was announced. “I think he can turn the company around,” Sydbank analyst Soren Lontoft Hansen told the news service. “Schultz’s profile from his Novo days makes him a good fit for launching new products.”
Schultz replaces Ulf Wiinberg, who stepped down in November after violating the company’s conflict of interest policies. The company was without a steady hand while it was trying to launch new products.
Schultz says he’s up to meeting the demands. Citing the “challenging times” his new employer faces, Schultz said he’s “motivated and inspired by Lundbeck’s vision and “excited to bring my business background to lead Lundbeck to the next phase of its development.”