Lilly CEO to retire; Ricks to take over as president and CEO in 2017


Dave Ricks

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Eli Lilly’s president will retire at the end of the year to make way for a new president and CEO.

John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., will retire as the company’s president on Dec. 31, 2016. He will continue with the board of directors through May 2017 and serve as non-executive chairman before exiting the board.

Lilly’s board unanimously elected David A. Ricks to replace him. Ricks currently serves as senior vice president and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines. He’ll assume his new role as Lilly’s president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2017. He’ll become chairman of the board on June 1, 2017.

“As Lilly transitions from our recent challenging period of patent expirations to a new era of growth, it is the logical time for a transition in company leadership,” Lechleiter said in a statement. “Dave Ricks is a capable, decisive and energetic leader who is very well prepared to succeed me as CEO. He brings to the role broad experience in Lilly’s commercial operations along with an appreciation and understanding of research and development.”

Lechleiter said it has been a “distinct honor and privilege” to serve as Lilly’s CEO for the past eight years. He started at the position in April 2008 and has been chairman of the board of directors since 2009. He originally joined the company in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in research and development.

Ricks called the prospect of leading the company “humbling and tremendously exciting.” He’s served with Lilly Bio-Medicines since 2012. He joined the company in 1996 as a business development associate and held several management positions in U.S. marketing and sales before transitioning to Lilly Canada. He later served as general manager of Lilly China before joining Lilly USA in 2009.

Ricks is a graduate of Purdue University and earned his MBA from Indiana University.

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