Sobti quits Ranbaxy over differences with management

Atul Sobti, CEO and MD, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. with successor Arun Sawhney, President, Ranbaxy Global Pharmaceutical Business in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma   | Photo Credit: Ramesh Sharma

Just over a year after taking over the helm of Ranbaxy Laboratories, Atul Sobti on Thursday said he will quit as CEO and Managing Director of the Gurgaon-based drug-maker, citing “substantial and basic” differences with the management of parent Daiichi Sankyo.

“There are opinions to run a company. When you believe you don’t have a consensus, you move out. The differences were substantial and basic, but there was no immediate trigger,” Mr. Sobti told reporters here.

Daiichi Sankyo did not comment, but Ranbaxy Chairman Tsutomu Une said the company realised various opportunities to repeat strong operating performance while continuing to manage key challenges under Mr. Sobti’s leadership.

Ranbaxy has announced the appointment of Arun Sawhney, the current President of Ranbaxy’s Global Pharmaceuticals Business, as Managing Director. Mr. Sobti will end his tenure with Ranbaxy on August 19.

Mr. Sobti, who joined Ranbaxy in October, 2005, as President of its India, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Global Consumer Healthcare Business, was appointed as the CEO and Managing Director last May to replace erstwhile promoter Malvinder Mohan Singh.

Mr. Singh had agreed to lead Ranbaxy as MD for a five-year term after selling off his family’s stake in 2008 for over Rs. 10,000 crore, but he also left the firm due to differences with the Japanese management.

Daiichi had bought a 63.92 per cent stake in Ranbaxy in 2008 for an estimated Rs. 22,000 crore. Later, the company ran into problems with the U.S. drug regulator.

Mr. Sobti, who had earlier headed the sales of India’s largest two-wheeler maker, Hero Honda, before joining Ranbaxy in October, 2005, was not forthcoming on his future plans.

“It will not be in pharma sector... I have never gone back to the same industry,” he said, when asked about his next destination.

On his unfinished business with Ranbaxy, he said: “I would have loved to finish the USFDA issues (of Paonta Sahib and Dewas plants)... but not all dreams come true.”

The two plants were banned by the USFDA citing non-compliance with manufacturing norms and more than 30 generics drugs produced at the two plants were banned from the U.S. market in 2008.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 3:28:34 PM |

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