Alexion acquisition means the end for AZ CEO on CSL board

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AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot is stepping down from the CSL board of directors by mutual agreement because the UK company's acquisition of Alexion creates a potential future conflict of strategic interest.

Mr Soriot, who is an Australian citizen, joined the CSL board in August last year.

AstraZeneca announced the US$39 billion acquisition of Alexion in mid-December under which it acquired a range of therapies for rare diseases, including for a blood disorder.

In a statement, CSL said Mr Soriot will step down effective 1 February 2021.

"He has resigned to avoid any potential future conflict of strategic interest between CSL and AstraZeneca that may arise due to the acquisition of Alexion by AstraZeneca," said the company. "The acquisition, announced on 12 December 2020, is subject to a number of closing conditions that have not yet been satisfied."

CSL’s chair Dr Brian McNamee AO said, “Whilst Pascal has only served for a short time as a Non-Executive Director of CSL, he made a strong contribution and become a valued member of the Board. CSL is regretful that Pascal’s tenure has come to an early close.

"We look forward to maintaining our ongoing relationship as CSL continues to work closely with AstraZeneca on the critically important COVID-19 vaccine project for the benefit of Australians. On behalf of the CSL Board I thank Pascal for all his work and for his continued relationship with CSL through the vaccine efforts.”