Lilly Veteran Josh Smiley Promoted to CFO

Smiley takes over from Derica Rice amid a cost-cutting push aimed at freeing up cash for Lilly to invest in developing new drugs.
Matthew HellerOctober 2, 2017

Eli Lilly has promoted Josh Smiley, a 17-year veteran of the company, to chief financial officer as part of a reshuffle of its executive team.

Smiley will succeed Derica Rice, who is retiring at the end of the year. He is currently Lilly’s treasurer, having started out with the drugmaker in 2000 as director of U.S. business-to-business strategic marketing. He has also previously served as CFO of Lilly Research Labs.

Also joining the executive committee are Dan Skovronsky, who has been promoted to senior vice president for science and technology and president of Lilly Research Labs; Myles O’Neill, who moves up to senior vice president and president of manufacturing operations; and Chief Information Officer Aarti Shah.

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“Joining our executive team are individuals who have the experience, expertise and leadership skills to build on our momentum of innovation driven volume growth,” Lilly CEO David A. Ricks said in a news release. “Importantly, this team will help us maintain focus as we work to bring forward new medicines in diabetes, cancer, immunology, neuro-degeneration and pain and change the path of serious disease.”

Smiley takes over as CFO amid a cost-cutting push aimed at freeing up cash for Lilly to invest in developing new drugs. The company last month announced it would lay off about 8% of its global workforce in order to save around $500 million a year.

Ricks has said the cuts “will result in a leaner, more nimble global organization and will accelerate progress towards our long-term goals of growing revenue, expanding operating margins and sustaining the flow of life-changing medicines from our pipeline.”

“Lilly has suffered setbacks over the past year on two potential blockbuster drugs — the delay of a rheumatoid arthritis drug as well as the failure of an experimental Alzheimer’s treatment,” CNBC noted.

Before joining Lilly, Smiley served as a financial advisor at Putnam Associates and Prudential Securities. He was also a board member at CGI Pharmaceuticals, a genomics-based drug discovery company, until its acquisition by Gilead Sciences.