October 8, 2018 / 10:24 PM / a year ago

Perrigo replaces CEO Roehrhoff with consumer goods veteran

Bottles are seen on a production line at the new factory of generic drugmaker Perrigo Co in the city of Yeruham, in southern Israel March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

(This version of the October 8 story corrects CEO’s name to Roehrhoff from Rohrhoff in headline and text)

(Reuters) - Perrigo Co Plc (PRGO.N) on Monday replaced its chief executive officer of 10 months, Uwe Roehrhoff, with consumer goods industry veteran Murray Kessler, as the generic drugmaker sharpens its focus on consumer healthcare business.

Kessler has spent nearly three decades in consumer packaged goods business and has worked with Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N) and Clorox (CLX.N). He was most recently the chief executive officer and president at the Lorillard Tobacco Co [LO.UL].

Lorillard’s market value surged to about $28 billion from about $9 billion during Kessler’s tenure as CEO between 2010 and 2015, Perrigo said. Lorillard was acquired by Reynolds American Inc RAI.N in 2015.

Earlier this year, Perrigo said it would separate its generics prescription business, which has been a drag on results, to focus on consumer healthcare following a strategic review.

“Given the decision to separate the Rx pharmaceuticals business and pursue a consumer-focused strategy, the board is looking forward to partnering with him to develop Perrigo’s strategic plan,” board Chairman Rolf Classon said in a statement.

The separation of the generics prescription business is expected to be completed in the second half of 2019, with the board exploring all options, including a possible tax-efficient separation to shareholders, a sale or merger, the company has said.

Roehrhoff, who joined Perrigo in January, spent seven years as chief executive of Gerresheimer AG <GXIG.DE >.

Under Roehrhoff, Perrigo’s shares have shed 21 percent of their value, through Monday’s close.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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