Boehringer Ingelheim says that Alessandro Banchi, chairman of the board and effectively chief executive, will retire from the post at the end of the year, to be replaced by the firm’s head of R&D, Andreas Barner, 55.

Dr Banchi, aged 62, has been with the the privately-owned firm for 35 years, has “fundamentally shaped” its “entrepreneurial success as well as decisively driven forward its profitability and internationalisation, especially in the USA”, said Christian Boehringer, chairman of the shareholders’ committee. Dr Banchi has also been responsible for sales and marketing, a post which will be filled by Bert Tjeenk Willink, aged 47.

Other key directors will take their leave at the end of the year: Hans-Juergen Leuchs, who is in charge of animal health and Marbod Muff, head of finance. Those two roles will be filled by Hubertus von Baumbach who joins the board, as will Wolfram Carius. Dr Barner will carry on as head of research as well as chairman.

Mr Boehringer said the succession arrangements ensure continuity and are in keeping with the firm’s international alignment. “We are also thereby well set up for the next decade, the unit of measure of our family-owned company,” he said, noting that the new directors “have been prepared for their forthcoming tasks with long-term planning”.