Rumors are circulating in the pharmaceutical industry that Park Ki-hwan, CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Korea, was recently forced by the headquarters to resign due to the Korean unit’s poor earnings and the management’s conflicts with the labor union.
Park stepped down from the post as of March 31, although his term was left until Sept. 30.
As Park’s next move is unknown, the industry is rumored that the head office might have pressured him to quit amid poor sales performance voluntarily.
The Korean unit posted 7.01 billion won ($6.58 million) operating loss last year, turning to red from black in eight years since 2009. Compared to 10.95 billion won operating profit in the previous year, it was a significant decline.
Some attribute the lower-than-expected sales of anticoagulant Pradaxa and hypertension combo drug Twynsta to Park’s management.
After taking office, Park took the sales license of Pradaxa back from Yuhan Corp. and set up a separate circulatory disease team to market several drugs exclusively.
However, the team’s performance did not turn profitable as previously anticipated. Park’s decision to accept voluntary early retirement from the team sparked protest from the labor union.
The labor union held a rally late last year to demand that Park or other executives should take responsibility for the withdrawal of the circulatory disease team.
According to U-BIST data, Pradaxa’s prescription sales fell to 18.66 billion won last year, down 5.9 percent from a year earlier. During the same period, Twynsta’s revenue declined 16.9 percent from 97.66 billion won to 81.17 billion won, and Trajenta also went down 6.4 percent from 59.41 billion won to 55.59 billion won.
“Officially, Park resigned due to personal reasons, not because of the company’s revenue decline or poor performance of circulatory products. Park also announced to the employees that he was leaving due to personal reasons,” said an official at Boehringer Ingelheim Korea.
The CEO post is vacant now. The company is in the process of appointing a new head. When the appointment is completed, it will make an official announcement, he said.
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