Cipla sees change at top level

Mumbai, Feb. 6: Yusuf K. Hamied is stepping down as the managing director of Cipla with effect from March 31, ending a 37-year stint at the country's fifth-largest drug maker by sales.

Hamied, currently chairman and managing director at Cipla, will, however, stay on as non-executive chairman. His brother, M.K. Hamied, will be the company's managing director, elevated from his current position as joint MD.

Yusuf Hamied has been a doyen in India's pharmaceutical industry, building a formidable reputation as a key developer of low-cost generic products in a lifelong quest to provide affordable medicines to people in developing nations affected by life threatening ailments.

He created a global sensation in 2001 when Cipla launched Triomune, a triple cocktail of anti-retroviral drugs that was available at a price of around $350 per patient per year ' a fraction of the price that multinational drug companies were charging.

Born on July 25, 1936, Hamied obtained a Ph.D in organic chemistry from Cambridge University. In the same year, he joined Cipla as a research officer. He was appointed as its managing director in 1976 and chairman in 1989.

Last year, Hamied again created waves when Cipla cut prices of key cancer drugs by 75 per cent. Back in the 1990s, he set up a palliative care centre for cancer patients in Pune. This centre follows a unique family care model offering comfort and care, free of cost to terminally ill patients.

Cipla has been reshuffling its top management. It recently appointed Subhanu Saxena as its chief executive officer. He assumed the new position from February 1. Saxena has a graduate degree in engineering from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD, France. He has worked with companies such as Citicorp, The Boston Consulting Group, and PepsiCo.

Last year, Yusuf Hamied also inducted nephew Kamil Hamied and niece Samina Vaziralli into key positions in the company.

Meanwhile, Cipla reported a 25.5 per cent rise in profits for the quarter ended December 31. Net profit rose to Rs 338.78 crore from Rs 269.91 crore in the same period last year. Income during the same period rose nearly 18 per cent to Rs 2,103 crore.

Cipla said domestic sales grew more than 10 per cent and export sales about 28 per cent. Operating margins and profits-after-tax rose more than 25 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

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