Bayer strategy head Baumann set to be named CEO: source

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German drugmaker Bayer's BAYGn.DE head of strategy, Werner Baumann, is set to be appointed chief executive-designate next week, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Long seen as heir apparent to Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers, Baumann will be announced as his successor on Feb. 25, when full-year results are due to be published, the source said.

The news was earlier reported by monthly Manager Magazin, which said Baumann would take the helm at the beginning of 2017.

Bayer declined to comment.

Dekkers has said he would step down at the end of 2016 and that it will be up to the supervisory board to pick a successor.

Baumann, a former finance chief who is responsible for group strategy, has spent his entire career at Bayer, having played key roles in folding Roche's ROG.VX consumer health unit and rival drugmaker Schering into Bayer.

Bayer, which invented Aspirin and polyurethane foams, last year listed its plastics business on the stock market to focus on its more profitable life-science businesses around human, animal and plant health.

It has benefited from a rich drug development pipeline but the company’s absence from a recent wave of consolidation could undermine its position in markets such as crop protection and animal health.

That is why Bayer, under Baumann’s leadership, is likely to seek a major life sciences M&A deal in the next few years, banking sources have said.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Keith Weir and Georgina Prodhan