Merial-Intervet names new CEO; joint venture of veterinary company awaits regulatory approval


Whitehouse Station, N.J. -- The largest animal health company in the world has a new name and a new chief executive officer.

Whitehouse Station, N.J.

-- The largest animal health company in the world has a new name and a new chief executive officer.

In the most recent development of a joint venture that is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2011, officials from Sanofi-aventis and Merck & Co. announced that Merial-Intervet will be the name, and Raul E. Kohan will step in as chief executive officer (CEO).

Kohan, who is currently president of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, will begin his new duties as CEO following regulatory approval.

Company officials report that formation of this new animal health joint venture is subject to execution of final agreements, antitrust review in the United States, Europe and other countries, as well as other customary closing conditions.

“Raul Kohan will head this new leader in Animal Health”, says Christopher A. Viehbacher, chief executive officer of Sanofi-aventis in a prepared statement. “The talents, products and expertise of both companies are very complementary and will create a company with greater geographical and market coverage. As a result, we expect the new Merial-Intervet joint venture to drive significant growth.”

Richard T. Clark, Merck chairman and chief executive officerm adds, "The joint venture will have one of the broadest portfolios of animal health products and services in pharmaceuticals and biologics to meet the needs of millions of customers."

Kohan joined Schering-Plough in 1984 and served the company in multiple roles -- from deputy head of animal health to overseeing the company's Global Specialty Operations group, which is comprised of Animal Health and Consumer Health Care for Schering-Plough. Kohan graduated from the General San Martin Military Academy, Argentina, and holds an MBA degree in economics from the University of Buenos Aires.

José Barella, the current executive chairman of Merial, will continue his role until the transaction closes, the companies report. Barella joined Merial in 2001 and became chief operating officer in 2005 and head of business operations with responsibilities for all commercial activities for Merial globally, including sales and marketing for both the companion animal and production animal businesses, and the commercial functions that support them. He was named Merial's executive chairman in 2007.

The global animal health market reached $19 billion in 2008. Products for companion animals accounted for 40 percent of total sales while products for production animals accounted for the remaining 60 percent of total sales, the company says. This market is expected to grow at around 5 percent per year over the next 5 years, driven by a growing demand for animal proteins, as well as a strong consumer needs for companion animal health care.

Merial and Intervet/Schering-Plough will continue to operate independently until the closing of the transaction.

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