Cipla's one-man army steps down as MD

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 15:04 hrs

He has often been referred to as Cipla's one-man army for his tussle with mutinational pharma firms over life-saving drugs. After years of speculation over succession at India's second-largest pharmaceutical company by market cap (Rs 32,486 crore) after Sun Pharma, Yusuf Khwaja Hamied, 76, finally decided to end his 37-year innings as the managing director.

A statement issued by Cipla on Wednesday said Hamied would retire as MD by the end of this financial year but would continue as non-executive chairman. Hamied had taken over the reins of Cipla when his father Khwaja Abdul Hamied died in 1972. He became MD in 1976.

Cipla was silent on his successor. Apart from Y K Hameid, the management team at Cipla includes M K Hamied, his brother, Subhanu Saxena, appointed CEO in November, and S Radhakrishnan, whole time director and CFO.

As part of handing over reins to the next generation, Cipla had inducted Samina Vaziralli, daughter of M K Hamied, into the management, in 2011. Kamil Hamied, son of M K Hamied, has also been involved in key functions for the last six years. There is, however, intense speculation in the market that Kamal, 32, may take the top job.

Speaking to Business Standard, Hamied said, "At Cipla, we have a strong team in place, along with the newly appointed CEO. Though I'm stepping down as MD, I'll be with the company always and involved with grooming the next generation executives." I'll continue all my fights by making cheaper generic drugs available for the under-privileged patients across the globe”.

That’s bad news for MNCs. Ever since taking over the reins at Cipla, Hamied was both famous and infamous for his tirade against giant drug innovators, as he sold expensive AIDS drugs cheap in Africa. He was called the most disliked man of the world's largest drugmakers. While copycat drugs did not earn him laurels in the West, he was worshipped in Africa, as he sold these drugs at a tenth of their price. During his tenure, Cipla had launched the triple-drug cocktail, Triomune, for AIDS patients at a cheaper rate. Hamied is known for his patent dislike for intellectual property.

Born on July 25, 1936, Hamied obtained PhD in organic chemistry from Cambridge University. In the same year, he joined Cipla as a research officer. Born in Lithuana and raised in Mumbai, Hamied, a non-resident Indian, spends at least six months a year abroad, but is known to keep a hawk's eye on what goes on in CIpla.

During his tenure, Cipla had challenged patents of costly life-saving drugs owned by MNCs and received nod to launch the cheaper copycat versions in India.

Net jumps 25.5%

Driven by robust sales growth in its international business, drugmaker Cipla on Wednesday reported a 25.5 per cent year-on-year jump in its net profit for the quarter ended December. The company booked a net profit of Rs 339 crore during the quarter against Rs 270 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Cipla, the country’s fifth-largest drugmaker by sales, clocked revenues of Rs 2,103 crore, up 18 per cent from Rs 1,783 crore in the year ago quarter.

Revenues from its domestic business grew 10 per cent to Rs 957 crore during the quarter, up from Rs 869 crore a year ago.

“The growth in domestic revenues was largely on growth in anti-asthma, antibiotics and cardiovascular therapy segments,” the company said.

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