Raymond Hill has stepped down as chief executive officer (CEO) of PPD (Pharmaceutical Product Development) less than three months after taking the reins at the US-based contract research organisation (CRO).

The news came after PPD completed its transition to a private company owned by global investment firms The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman. Hill’s resignation took effect on 12 December 2011. PPD said its new board of directors would be hiring a CEO to replace Hill “in the near future”.

In the interim, four members of PPD’s senior leadership team will serve on an executive committee with responsibility for the day-to-day management and operation of the company.

In addition, Dr. Fred Eshelman – PPD founder and leader for more than 25 years – has agreed to serve as a senior adviser to the new board of directors and executive management team throughout 2012.

Eshelman had been filling in as executive chairman at PPD before Hill joined the company from IMS Health last September. The previous CEO, David Grange, had retired in mid-May after holding the post since mid-2009.  

“We do not anticipate other major changes in the day-to-day operations of the business, and PPD’s strategy and commitment to our clients and employees will not change,” said Ned Glascock, associate director, corporate communications.

Parachuting out

A US$3.9 billion all-cash deal to merge with affiliates of The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman was reached on 2 October and was cleared by a large majority of PPD’s shareholders at the end of November.

The company did not disclose whether Hill, following his brief stint as CEO, would be pocketing the US$3 million or so in compensation due to him under a ‘golden parachute’ provision included in the private equity deal.

Just recently, Dr Stephen Cutler walked away from a short-lived tenure as chief executive officer of another US-based CRO, Kendle, with a golden parachute package worth US$2,080,356 in total.

Cutler had moved up from senior vice president and chief operating officer of Kendle to CEO on 1 May after co-founders Candace Kendle and Christopher Bergen eased their hold on the company.

Just a few days later, INC Research agreed to acquire Kendle for around US$232 million in cash. Cutler did not join the INC Research management team once the deal was completed. Instead, he took up a position as group president, Clinical Research Services at ICON.