AstraZeneca Plc Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said reports of his imminent departure are “fake news” and he feels fit enough to spend another five years at the UK drugmaker.
“I read these rumors and I can tell you — there’s nothing further from the truth. This is totally made up. Absolutely made up,” he told Bloomberg in an interview at the European Society for Medical Oncology in Madrid, where Astra is presenting key studies on lung and breast cancer drugs in development.
Soriot, 64, said he doesn’t intend to retire any time soon and could even see himself finishing his career at the UK drugmaker.
Earlier this month, UK newspapers reported that Chairman Michel Demare had started looking to find a replacement for Soriot, who has been an influential figure at the drugmaker and credited with transforming its drug pipeline.
Soriot has run Astra since 2012. In recent years, the executive has commuted between the UK and Australia, where his family lives.
Soriot said he has not moved to Australia permanently and spends less than 10 percent of his time there. He wants to keep working, especially at a time when the way cancer is treated is potentially about to be transformed, he said.
“Look at what’s happening today, it’s just incredible,” Soriot said of the advances in oncology being presented at the conference. “Why would I want to retire at a time when so much is happening in the world of cancer and beyond?”
In 2021 when Astra bought Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Soriot said that board planning was underway for future leadership changes and there was an agreed sequence on retiring between key individuals at the company.