Vojmir Urlep to succeed Lek President of the Board of Management Janja Bratoš upon her retirement
Ljubljana, March 21 – President of the Board of Management of Lek, a Sandoz company, Janja Bratoš will retire in 2007. She will hand over the reins to Vojmir Urlep, currently President of the Board of Management of Kemofarmacija. This was approved by the Lek Supervisory Board regular meeting today. Vojmir Urlep will assume the role of President of the Board of Management of Lek, a Sandoz company, on August 1, 2007.
Janja Bratoš, who has led Lek since the spring of 2005, successfully guided Lek through its integration into Sandoz’s global business. In accordance with Sandoz strategy, Lek gained the role of global development center for products and technologies, global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, competence center for the development of vertically integrated products, Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products and supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz’s global markets.
For five years Lek has been a part of a global system in which change is everyday business, and it is therefore adapting its business culture accordingly.
In addition to the investments in production capacities which Lek concluded in 2006, it began an investment in the enlargement of production capacity at the Ljubljana site. The value of the project, which will increase production to 5 bn tablets per year, amounts to USD 14.7 m (EUR 11.7 m).
We have begun the construction of a quality center at the Ljubljana site; the value of the investment amounts to USD 6.6 m (EUR 5.3 m). In 2006 investments were approved at USD 77 m (EUR 61.4 m).
Business achievements represent a solid base for further growth, where human capital is in first place – with its knowledge, creativity, and excellence it will assure Lek’s future. “Lek is today led by a capable management team, who – with high level of trust and support from the associates – successfully prepared the ground for the further growth of the company. I firmly believe that the younger generation is able to further develop what we have achieved together,” Janja Bratoš said about the future of Lek.
Janja Bratoš took a job at Lek after graduating from the Faculty of Science and Technology in 1975 with a degree in chemistry. She worked in development of active pharmaceutical ingredients for 7 years, was Head of the Foreign Trade unit for 12 years and Head of the Sales and Marketing division for 4 years. She has been a member of the Lek Board of Management since April 21, 1999.
In her 30-year career at Lek she has achieved several notable successes. She gained valuable experience in the fields of development and intellectual property rights. She led Sales and Marketing through the difficult and ultimately successful period of internationalization of operations, where she built a strong network of associated companies and representative offices. Mrs. Bratoš developed a successful team of co-workers who achieved exceptionally good results and created a motivated and highly qualified international organization. She has supervised the Amoxiclav project since 1998 and has made a major contribution to its success on the American market.
On March 22, 2005 the Supervisory Board of Lek, a Sandoz company, confirmed the appointment of Janja Bratoš as President of the Lek Board of Management. With this, Sandoz showed that it recognizes and values the knowledge, experience and business results of Lek’s management and associates.
The decision on the successor for the Lek CEO was guided by three qualities: knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, long-term management experience, and familiarity with working in an international matrix business environment. Vojmir Urlep possesses all of these qualities.
After graduating from the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana, Vojmir Urlep began his career at Salus, but as early as 1983 he came to Lek to work in the foreign trade department. In 15 years at Lek he held many challenging positions in export, marketing and sales, and was Director of Lek’s representative office in Moscow, Managing Director of Lek Zagreb, as well as a member of the Board of Management and President of the Board of Management of Lek. During this period he received a Master’s degree in international management from the Faculty of Economics and Business in Maribor.
In 2000 he became president of the Board of Management of Kemofarmacija d.d. and successfully led it in an increasingly competitive environment. He effectively integrated the company into Celesio AG, Europe’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler. Vojmir Urlep was for many years a member of Board of Governors of the Jožef Stefan Institute, is a member of the assembly of the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia, a member of the Board of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, a member of the executive board of the GIRP (European Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers) and guest lecturer in marketing at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana.
During his career, Vojmir Urlep has gained knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry as well as the pharmaceutical wholesalers business. With continuous education and training at home and abroad he took care of his personal development in his field of work, as well as in management. With his daily presence in the international environment and familiarity with global business he has gained valuable experiences and knowledge, which he strengthened by working in one of Europe’s largest companies and confirmed with the successful integration of Kemofarmacija into this international business system.
“Behind me is an important period, which was marked by successful management of Kemofarmacija and its integration into one of Europe’s largest companies. My new tasks represent new challenges as well as confirmation of my past achievements. Since its integration into Sandoz, Lek has developed into one of the pillars of this global pharmaceutical company. I firmly believe that with the knowledge and experiences I have gained in my career, I can further develop Lek for the welfare of the company, employees, and owners,” said Vojmir Urlep upon his appointment as Lek CEO.
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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. It operates as a global development center for products and technologies, as a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, as a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products, as a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products and as a supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz’s global markets. Lek d.d. employs about 2,820 people and achieved total sales of USD 904 million in 2006. For further information please consult http://www.lek.si
Sandoz, a Division of the Novartis group, is a global leader in the field of generic pharmaceuticals, offering a wide array of high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of more than 840 active substances in over 5 000 forms worldwide. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these drugs along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to the strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany) and EonLabs (U.S.) and sells its products in more than 110 countries. In 2006, Sandoz employed around 21,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 6 billion.
Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease suffering and enhance the quality of life. Novartis is the only company with leadership positions in both patented and generic pharmaceuticals. We are strengthening our medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics and leading self-medication OTC brands. In 2006, the Group’s businesses achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion. Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 101,000 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.
For further information contact:
Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški
Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.
Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43
Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32