May 01, 2007
Bristol-Myers Squibb names Cornelius permanent CEO
Bristol-Myers Squibb last week named James Cornelius permanent CEO of the company. Cornelius previously held the title of interim CEO, taking the reigns following last year’s ouster of former CEO Peter Dolan. BMS’s board of directors removed Dolan after the drugmaker’s top-selling drug, Plavix for heart disease, temporarily faced generic competition when a proposed settlement of patent litigation fell apart. Cornelius, who is 63 years old, previously said he didn't want the permanent job, and BMS had been evaluating both internal and external candidates for the post, according to published reports. “As we conducted an extensive and thorough CEO search, it became increasingly clear that Jim was the ideal person to continue leading our company,” BMS chairman James Robinson said in statement. In a conference call following Bristol-Myers's quarterly report, an analyst asked Cornelius whether his new status as permanent CEO, coupled with a new drug-development pact with Pfizer should indicate that Bristol-Myers wasn't for sale. Cornelius said his “interim CEO” status had been intended to give the board time to look for a permanent CEO. He said he has been working full-time as the company's chief. “And I think we are trying to run the business as a freestanding, independent company, and to do the right things for the long-term value of shareholders, and we're very much on target at this stage,” Cornelius said. Cornelius formerly headed Guidant, overseeing the $27 billion sale of the medical-device maker to Boston Scientific in 2006.