AstraZeneca CEO says no to merger, again

Anglo-Swedish drug major AstraZeneca has achieved critical mass and does not need another merger to maintain its growth, according to chief executive Sir Tom McKillop, who is stepping down in December.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Sir Tom stressed that growth would come from internal operations, and he poured cold water on recent speculation in the marketplace that AstraZeneca might need a merger with the likes of GlaxoSmithKline or Novartis, noting that the company already has a global reach in sales and marketing. He also suggested that there is plenty of evidence to indicate that larger companies are less productive in terms of R&D.

There had been speculation that Sir Tom’s decision to retire and make way for David Brennan, who currently heads up AstraZeneca’s US operations, could have opened the door for a merger, given that the departing CEO has been vocal in his opposition to such a move [[07/09/05b]].