* Hasegawa wants Weber to come up with ideas in 3-6 months
* Major acquisitions not on cards, small bolt-ons possible
* Takeda pipeline weakened by diabetes drug setback in Dec
By Ben Hirschler
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 23 Takeda Pharmaceutical
, one of Asia's biggest drugmakers, expects the
appointment of a foreign outsider as its planned next chief
executive will take the 230-year-old Japanese group to the next
level in going global.
Last month's decision to name Christophe Weber, a Frenchman
who has never worked for Takeda, as chief operating officer and
the intended successor to Yasuchika Hasegawa was seen as a bold
move in an industry that has often looked inward in the past.
Yet Hasegawa, who will remain chairman, said the move was
just a logical extension of the company's strategy.
"Our near-term strategy is to transform Takeda into a truly
globally competitive company in every facet of its business.
It's very simple. To make that happen we need a global standard
of talent in each key position," he told Reuters on the
sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In the past, Takeda has reached outside its domestic market
with some large deals, such as the acquisition of cancer
specialist Millennium and a deal to buy Nycomed to boost its
footprint in emerging markets.
Hasegawa said the time for such sizeable deals was "now
over", although Takeda could look at small bolt-on buys in
Weber is joining from GlaxoSmithKline in April and
Hasegawa said he wanted him to come up with ideas for changing
Takeda "within three to six months".
Weber is not the first non-Japanese executive to take a top
post at a Japanese company, but his position is unusual in that
unlike Carlos Ghosn at Renault-Nissan or
Howard Stringer at Sony he does not come from within
"He's parachuting into our organisation which with 230 years
of history has never had a non-Japanese top executive. I want
him to take time to look into the organisation and find out the
shortfalls and prioritise them," Hasegawa said.
"He needs to set aggressive but achievable targets."
Weber is joining at a testing time, since confidence in
Takeda's pipeline of new drugs has been hit following the
failure of a late-stage experimental diabetes drug in December
after it was linked to liver problems.
Hasegawa acknowledged the scrapping of the medicine was a
setback but he said the loss would not derail plans to grow
sales at a mid-single digit percentage rate, while also
expanding operating margins.
"We are right on track even though we have lost a late-stage
compound," he said.
The group is pinning its hopes on a number of other new
products, including an antidepressant developed with Denmark's
Lundbeck, a treatment for ulcerative colitis, a new
anti-obesity pill licensed from Orexigen and a
follow-on to its successful cancer drug Velcade.