UCB has picked Jean-Christophe Tellier, currently head of the Belgian firm's biopharma brands and solutions division, to take over as chief executive from Roch Doliveux.

Dr Tellier (pictured) will become CEO on January 1, 2015, when Dr Doliveux will have held the post for a decade, and UCB says the move is the result of "a long and well-thought through succession plan to ensure necessary experience and knowledge transfer". The Brussels-based group added that it has planned an "orderly handover period throughout the remainder of 2014" with Dr Tellier working alongside Dr Doliveux "to ensure a seamless transition".

UCB chairman Gerhard Mayr says that in the last 10 years, under Dr Doliveux’s leadership, the firm has "evolved from a diversified chemical company into a global biopharmaceutical leader”, and "surmounted the patent cliff of its former blockbuster products and successfully launched three new core medicines" - Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, the antiepileptic Vimpat (lacosamide) and Neupro (rotigotine), a patch for Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome.

Dr Doliveux said that "our rich late-stage pipeline is poised to reach pivotal milestones from the second half of 2014 through mid- 2016". As such, "leadership continuity is critical to ensuring the successful launch of these important products in the severe disease areas of osteoporosis, lupus and epilepsy".