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Daiichi Sankyo name current COO Sunao Manabe as firm's new CEO

Published on: 12/04/19

Daiichi Sankyo have said Sunao Manabe, the company’s current COO will take over from George Nakayama as the firm’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Manabe, who joined Sankyo Co in 1978, has, since joining the firm, taken on roles of increasing seniority. The company veteran took on the position of President and COO in 2017.

The move from COO to CEO is a familiar pattern in Japanese firms mirrored in Takeda’s appointment of Frenchman Christophe Weber in 2014.

Manabe joined Sankyo immediately after graduating from the University of Tokyo, one of Japan’s most elite academic institutions, where he graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture.

Manabe has, since joining the firm, held numerous positions at Daiichi Sankyo, in a variety of areas, including: Business Intelligence, Human resources, Global Sales and Marketing, Corporate Strategy and Medicinal Safety Research.

The news, sent out on the 29 March, came just a day after the Japanese firm announced a collaboration with Anglo-Swedish multinational, AstraZeneca, over the development of cancer drug trastuzumab deruxtecan. The collaboration comes amid Daiichi Sankyo’s shift towards oncology.

Nakayama, who became CEO of Daiichi Sankyo in 2002, will stay with the firm in his new position as Representative Director and Chairman. Nakayama first joined Daiichi Sankyo subsidiary Suntory, in 1979.

Marking the winding down of Nakayama’s decades long career the changes will be effective 17 June 2019.

“Daiichi Sankyo has determined this is the appropriate time for change of CEO in order to achieve further growth of the company,” the company said in a statement.

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