Bristol-Myers Squibb has set up a new executive committee, which will act as the company’s “senior strategy and decision-making body”.

The committee will consist of chief executive James Cornelius, Lamberto Andreotti, who has also been named president and chief operating officer, Elliot Sigal, who heads up R&D at B-MS and Jean-Marc Huet, who has been appointed chief financial officer. Mr Cornelius noted that “this group will chart the future for B-MS.

He added that “our transformation over the past 15 months has been swift and seamless, and we will continue to move forward as a company purely focused on helping patients prevail against serious disease.” A number of other changes were made, including the appointment of Anthony Hooper, president of the Americas division, while Beatrice Cazala was appointed to head B-MS’ European unit as well as global commercialisation. John Celentano will be responsible for emerging markets and the Asia-Pacific region.

Analysts believe that the setting-up of the new committee will act as a form of succession plan to help B-MS decide who should take over from Mr Cornelius, 65, once he decides to step down. Company spokeswoman Tracy Furey was quoted as saying that the mandatory retirement age for the top job is 75, and "Jim is still our chairman and CEO and seems to be enjoying the job thoroughly."

She also said that the management changes “are designed to ensure we have a robust talent pool to fill critical positions.” Special mention was made of Mr Andreotti and Ms Furey said that “his new responsibilities and seat on the board convey our confidence in his leadership”.

Mr Cornelius said that “Lamberto’s leadership has been an integral part of our recent global commercial success, and of our transformation to a global biopharma leader”. Mr Andreotti has been at the company for 11 years and held a variety of senior positions there.