- Lonza CEO Marc Funk will step down after about nine months in the post, the Swiss manufacturer said.
- Funk is leaving for personal reasons, Lonza said, without giving further details. "The board respects Marc's decision and would like to thank him for his service to Lonza and wish him well for his future endeavors," board member Christoph Maeder said in a Nov. 12 statement.
- Chairman Albert Baehny will serve as interim CEO and Maeder will become lead independent director. Funk will remain with the company until January to "ensure a smooth handover," Lonza spokeswoman Sanna Fowler wrote in an email.
The announcement comes as a surprise given that Funk rose to the CEO position in March, replacing Richard Ridinger, who had served at the helm for seven years. The search for Funk's successor has already begun, according to Fowler, and the company hopes to have a new CEO in place "as soon as possible."
Lonza promoted Funk to CEO from the company's fastest growing division, pharma and biotech. He played a key role in boosting the profile of the contract development and manufacturing organization, and the company hailed him as a "strong internal successor."
Under Funk, the company ventured into emerging areas, including microbiome manufacturing. In April, Lonza announced that it was forming a joint venture with Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen to produce bacteria-based therapies.
Funk told BioPharma Dive in April to expect more joint ventures in the future.
While focusing on growing businesses such as biologics manufacturing, Funk also oversaw a reorganization that included plans to separate out Lonza's specialty ingredients business.
Funk's departure "does not affect the strategy or priorities for Lonza," Fowler wrote. The company still expects its carve out of specialty ingredients to be completed by the end of the 2020's first quarter, and investments in pharma, biotech and nutrition continue apace, she said.
Lonza is also planning "significant new capacity and technology" in China, Switzerland and the U.S., Fowler added.