US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Pharmaceutical Product Development has brought in an experienced industry executive from Pfizer to head up the business following PPD’s acquisition last December by asset manager The Carlyle Group and private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

The new chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), David Simmons, will start at PPD on 4 June, operating out of the company headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina. Simmons was previously president and general manager of Pfizer’s emerging markets and established products business units.

He fills a gap left when Raymond Hill resigned as PPD’s chief executive officer once the CRO had completed its transition to a private company. Hill, who joined PPD from IMS Health, had held the reins for less than three months when he stepped down.

In the interim, four members of PPD’s senior leadership team formed an executive committee responsible 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 – agreed to serve as a senior adviser to the new board of directors and executive management team throughout 2012.

Proven leader

Simmons spent 15 years with Pfizer, working in a number of senior roles. In his most recent position, he was also responsible for the US company’s biosimilar development programme.