AstraZeneca appoints Johansson as new chair

ASTRAZENECA has picked former Volvo boss Leif Johansson as its next chairman, hoping his experience of steering the truckmaker through tough times will help at a drugmaker facing shrinking revenues and a weak pipeline of new drugs.

The 60-year-old Swede was chief executive of world number two truck maker Volvo for 14 years and his arrival at AstraZeneca follows a trend among drugmakers seeking lessons from the auto industry on leaner, meaner production.

Johansson cut his teeth in the Big Pharma sector with three years as a non-executive director at Bristol-Myers Squibb until 2011, but was most recently chairman of the world’s top mobile network equipment maker Ericsson, a job he took up barely a year ago in April 2011.

AstraZeneca faces loss of exclusivity on many of its top-selling drugs over the next five years and has few obvious replacements in its pipeline.