Cipla elevates Umang Vohra as COO; promoter scion to head M&A, VC unit

Mumbai-based drugmaker Cipla Ltd on Thursday expanded the role of promoter group scion Samina Vaziralli and appointed a new global chief operating officer as it created an apex executive leadership team.

The creation of the six-member Management Council is part of efforts to simplify decision making and improve operational excellence, the company said in a stock market filing.

Samina, a niece of Cipla chairman YK Hamied and daughter of vice chairman MK Hamied, has been named the company’s global head for strategy, M&A, Cipla New Ventures and key partner relationships. She is currently executive director at the company.

Samina has been involved with Cipla New Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the firm, since its inception in 2013.

She was serving as interim HR head of the company and was inducted into the board last year, dispelling speculation that the promoter family was letting go of its direct involvement in the day-to-day affairs of the company. Her father and uncle hold non-executive roles in the board.

With the new appointment she gets a big portfolio, especially as Cipla sealed a large deal recently.

Last September, Cipla agreed to acquire two US-based companies--InvaGen Pharmaceuticals Inc and Exelan Pharmaceuticals Inc--for around $550 million. It had also decided to acquire a 51 per cent stake in Uganda-based Quality Chemicals Ltd for $30 million.

In another top-level shuffle, Umang Vohra, currently the global chief financial and strategy officer, has been appointed as its global chief operating officer with immediate effect. He replaces Sudhanshu Priyadarshi, who is quitting the company.

Cipla said the role of the global COO has been expanded to fully integrate end-to-end operations from making, supplying and selling its products.

In his new role, Vohra will lead the generics and bulk drugs businesses across all markets globally. Additionally, he will now integrate technical services, global supply chain, global portfolio, business development and licensing and business planning functions. He will also continue as the CFO.

Both Samina and Vohra are part of the six-member council, which will be headed by Subhanu Saxena, managing director and global CEO. Others in the council include Geena Malhotra, global head of integrated product development; Ranjana Pathak, global head of quality; and Prabir Jha, global chief people officer.

“We are simplifying our leadership structure to prepare Cipla for the next phase of our growth. This is a natural evolution at this stage of our plans,” said Subhanu Saxena.

Cipla has presence across 150 countries and its portfolio includes more than 1,500 products across therapeutic categories.

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