Strong results for AstraZeneca as McKillop leaves

Troubled Anglo-Swedish drugs giant AstraZeneca announced on Thursday it would replace its chief executive Sir Tom McKillop, while announcing strong results for the second quarter.

McKillop was to retire on January 1 next year following rumours of his departure and would be replaced by David Brennan, head of its US and Canadian operations, the group said.

“David has over 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has played an important part in the development of AstraZeneca,” said AstraZeneca chairman Louis Schweitzer.

The drugs giant’s pre-tax profits rocketed 67 percent to 1.718 billion dollars (13.5 billion kronor), compared with the same period last year. This represented a profits surge of 55 percent, the group said in its quarterly results.

“Strong sales growth and productivity gains have delivered an outstanding first half performance leading to higher shareholder returns and an increase in financial targets for the full year,” McKillop said.

AstraZeneca’s share price surged 4.26 percent to 2,448 pence in late morning trading in London following the statement.