Finance Chief of New Mylan-Pfizer Business Expected to Focus on Costs, Investor Communication

Sanjeev Narula currently leads the finances of Pfizer’s Upjohn business

A new drug company formed by Pfizer Inc.’s Upjohn division and Mylan NV has hired Sanjeev Narula, a longtime Pfizer executive, as its chief financial officer.

Photo: andrew kelly/Reuters

The incoming finance chief of a new drug company formed by a merger of generics maker Mylan NV and Pfizer Inc.’s Upjohn division is expected to focus on investor communication, cost cuts and portfolio rationalization, efforts that could be complicated by the continued spread of the coronavirus.

2020欧洲杯APPMylan and Pfizer said Thursday that the finances of Viatris—the name of the eventual merged entity—would be led by Upjohn’s current chief financial officer, Sanjeev Narula, a longtime Pfizer executive. The transaction, which is expected to close by mid-2020, would create one of the largest sellers of generic and off-patent medicines world-wide, with annual sales of more than $19 billion.

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Mylan’s current CFO, Ken Parks, will retire2020欧洲杯APP from the company upon the close the deal, the companies said in July.

2020欧洲杯APPMr. Narula has various tasks awaiting him, including communicating clearly with investors, finding cost savings and rationalizing the new businesses’ portfolio, analysts said.

“Mylan has not communicated transparently in the past, and Mr. Narula will have to alleviate concerns from investors around that,” said Soo Romanoff, an equity analyst at investment research firm Morningstar Inc.

2020欧洲杯APPMylan on several occasions missed its guidance, resulting in skepticism from investors and analysts, said Akash Tewari, a senior analyst at Wolfe Research LLC. “For a CFO, to guide credibly to the street is very important,” Mr. Tewari said.

Those efforts could be complicated by the continuing spread of the coronavirus and the strong market-sell off in recent days, according to Louise Chen, a managing director at brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald LP.

Mylan and Pfizer didn’t immediately provide additional comment.

The new company will have significant exposure to China, both in terms of customers and production sites, and the virus outbreak could mean that Viatris hits certain targets later than initially forecast, Ms. Chen said. “China is a very big part of this deal. The timing is unlucky,” she said.

China is forecast to represent about 11% of pro forma revenue of the new entity in 2020, the two companies said in a September 2019 investor presentation.

Among the targets set by Mylan and Pfizer: Generate about $4 billion in free cash flow and up to $8 billion in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2020, and achieve about $1 billion in annual cost savings by 2023.

Mr. Narula is expected to help rationalize the portfolio amid strong competition and price pressure in the generic-drugs sector, analysts said. The two businesses are highly complementary, Ms. Chen said.

Mr. Narula’s experience at Upjohn and Pfizer—a company he has worked for since 2004—could help with that, said Ms. Chen.

2020欧洲杯APPBefore he took the role of CFO at Upjohn, Mr. Narula held various jobs in finance, including vice president of finance for Pfizer’s essential health business and finance lead for the company’s primary care business unit, the companies said.

Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@kinofilmz.com

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