AstraZeneca boss Sir Pascal Soriot looks to step down


Soriot has achieved remarkable success in the field of British corporate history. As per a source, he has discussed the possibility of leaving with a few individuals. However, the 64-year-old has not communicated with the company's board or chairman.

Blog section revised: 9th September 2023 at 9:50 PM.

Stepping down: Pascal Soriot, Knight of the British Empire.

According to The Mail on Sunday, sources have revealed that Sir Pascal Soriot, the head of AstraZeneca, has confided in close associates that he is seeking to depart from the largest corporation listed on the FTSE 100.

His career in British business has been incredibly successful. He was instrumental in creating one of the first vaccines for Covid-19 and stood firm against a takeover bid from US giant Pfizer.

The source has stated that Soriot, who is 64 years old, has had conversations with various individuals regarding the possibility of his departure. However, he has yet to have any discussions with the board or chairman of the pharmaceutical company.

It is rumored that he might leave within the upcoming year, but no conclusions have been finalized and there is no definite schedule.

During February, Soriot was questioned about his intentions to leave AstraZeneca. He replied by saying that he was still capable and therefore had no plans to step down in the near future.

Back in April, the company got a new chairman named Michel Demaré. Soriot expressed his eagerness to collaborate with Demaré in the future, without mentioning the nature of their work relationship.

Soriot has served as the head of the leading pharmaceutical company for a remarkable period of 11 years. He assumed the position in 2012 and has earned widespread recognition for leading a remarkable transformation that has turned AstraZeneca's reputation around from being a slow performer to an innovator, boasting a remarkable range of highly successful cancer treatments.

Since he took charge, the company's worth has increased significantly to £168 billion, surpassing those of Shell and HSBC. The CEO, who is of French and Australian descent, received the highest earnings among all the chief executives listed in the FTSE 100 last year. He earned £15.3 million, which included a shared bonus of £10.5 million granted to him if he met several performance criteria.

He is among the rare leaders within Footsie to have accumulated over £100 million, receiving a total of £120 million as remuneration up to now.

AstraZeneca is currently thriving, but things were different for Soriot when he first joined the company. Back in 2013, he faced criticism for relocating AstraZeneca's headquarters from Alderley Park in Cheshire to Cambridge. Unions, in particular, were unhappy with the move and saw it as a significant setback for the north-west region of England.

The next year, AstraZeneca faced an unexpected attempt at a takeover by Pfizer, a company in the United States. They proposed to purchase AstraZeneca for a sum of £70 billion and relocate their base to the UK to benefit from tax advantages. However, following a public conflict, Pfizer ultimately abandoned the plan. AstraZeneca's leaders believed that the offer did not reflect the true value of their company.

Soriot and his colleagues' predictions were accurate, as the UK pharmaceutical company is now valued higher than the American company that attempted to acquire it, which has a value of approximately £154 billion. AstraZeneca recently acquired Pfizer's gene therapy drugs for almost £800 million in July.

Half a decade ago, Soriot acknowledged himself as one of the most poorly compensated leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, a worldwide business where bosses of prominent American corporations earn inordinate amounts.

In February, the CEO caused controversy by claiming that the reason AstraZeneca decided to invest £330 million in a manufacturing plant in Ireland instead of the UK was due to the high cost of doing business in the UK. Despite his desire to construct a cutting-edge facility near current locations in the North West, Soriot opted for Ireland because the UK's tax policies were not conducive to investment.

In April, he heightened his criticism, stating that the UK was undesirable for companies to invest in and cautioning that setting up manufacturing plants for pharmaceutical companies in the country was challenging.

During the height of the pandemic, AstraZeneca collaborated with Oxford University to develop a vaccine, which became widely known and recognized. This vaccine was sold at cost, but Soriot's decision to spend most of the pandemic period in Australia caused dissatisfaction among investors.

Once again, he took a bold move in 2021 by spearheading a £28 billion acquisition of a US company that specializes in treating rare diseases called Alexion. This was considered as the biggest deal in the industry since the onset of the pandemic. This impressive feat ultimately led him to receive a knighthood in 2022 for his invaluable contributions to the life sciences field.

Following his departure, it is believed that the male individual with two children intends to dedicate additional periods residing in Australia, where his relatives currently reside.

A response was not provided by AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca CEO Soriot To Resign

There might be a few affiliate links in this blog post. In case you click on any of them, we personally benefit from a tiny percentage of the sale. This money helps us keep This Is Money as a free service. Let us assure you that we do not create blogs with the intention of advertising. We don't permit any business partnerships to influence our writing. We maintain our editorial freedom no matter what.

Read more
This week's most popular news