Frankfurt, Germany, Feb 8 (AFP/APP): German chemical giant Bayer on Wednesday named Bill Anderson as its new CEO, following mounting pressure from activist investors urging the company to switch direction.
Anderson, an American who was previously a senior executive at Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche, will take over the reins from Werner Baumann on June 1 this year, Bayer said in a statement.
Activist investors — including Bluebird Capital Partners, who had recently acquired a stake in Bayer — had been ratcheting up pressure on the drugs-to-pesticides group to make major changes, according to media reports.
Outgoing CEO Baumann, who will retire from Bayer after 35 years at the company, led the 2018 takeover of troubled US firm Monsanto.
Since then, Bayer has been beset by legal problems, with its share price cratering on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
It has faced cases in US courts from cancer patients related to the glyphosate chemical in the Roundup weedkiller, which they claim caused them to fall ill. Bayer rejects the accusations.
Anderson, 56, was most recently the CEO of Roche’s pharmaceuticals division, and prior to that was head of biotech firm Genentech.
The American manager was “the ideal candidate to lead Bayer together with the team into a new, successful chapter at a time of a disruptive innovation cycle in biology, chemistry and artificial intelligence,” said Norbert Winkeljohann, chairman of the supervisory board of Bayer.
The incoming CEO, a chemical engineer by training, said that he looked “forward to working with the people of Bayer to accelerate innovation, increase performance, advance sustainability and unleash the full potential of the company”.

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