Mylan's Heather Bresch Added to Brief List of Female CEOs

By Nixon, Alex | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 27, 2011 | Go to article overview

Mylan's Heather Bresch Added to Brief List of Female CEOs


Nixon, Alex, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Heather Bresch will join a small but growing group of female chief executives when she takes over as CEO of Mylan Inc. on Jan. 1.

The announcement on Wednesday by the Canonsburg-based generic drugmaker that Bresch would replace CEO Robert Coury followed news on Tuesday that IBM Corp. had named its first female CEO. Mylan also reported another quarter of strong financial results yesterday.

Bresch told the Tribune-Review yesterday that she has been involved in strategic planning at Mylan for five years, and as CEO she would continue Mylan's tradition of staying ahead of its competitors in the industry. Bresch, 42, joined Mylan in 1992 and became president in 2009.

"I'm fortunate; I've grown up in this company," she said. "I look forward to continuing to drive the company and enjoy the same successes we've enjoyed up to this point."

There are 16 female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. The additions of Bresch and IBM's Virginia Rometty as CEOs next year will bring that number to 18. In addition to Bresch, another female CEO at a Fortune 500 company has a Western Pennsylvania connection. Patricia A. Woertz, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland Co., one of the world's largest agricultural processors, is a Pittsburgh native and one- time Gulf Oil Corp. executive.

On Jan. 1, Coury will become executive chairman of Mylan's board of directors. Coury, 50, who has been CEO since 2002, told analysts yesterday that the move was made to provide a smooth transition in leadership, not because of some problem inside the generic pharmaceutical company.

"I do think that other Wall Street leaders ought to take note," Coury said on a conference call to discuss the company's third quarter financial results. "This company is in the best shape it's ever been. There's no better way to set an example."

Coury praised Bresch as a leader in the generic drug industry who has had a "impressive track record" as president of Mylan. She has been instrumental in lobbying for the first fees on the industry that will fund the Food and Drug Administration and boost inspections of manufacturing plants overseas.

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