Lilly CEO Lechleiter Returns Following May Heart Surgery

Eli Lilly & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter returned to his positions full-time following surgery to repair a heart defect in May.

The procedure and recovery were successful and both Lechleiter’s personal doctor and the company physician cleared him for work, Indianapolis-based Lilly said in a statement today. Lechleiter, 59, also resumed his position as president.

The May 13 surgery sought to repair a dilated aorta, which hadn’t been causing any symptoms. The condition occurs when there is a bulge or ballooning of the larger artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and abdomen, according to the National Institutes of Health. When announcing the procedure on May 6, the company said that Lechleiter’s condition was found during an unrelated test.

“I return to Lilly with renewed energy and enthusiasm, along with a new perspective on health and wellness and the critical importance of new medicines in advancing patient care,” Lechleiter said in the statement.

Lilly rose 1.1 percent to $51.13 at the close in New York. The shares have increased 20 percent in the past 12 months.

Chief Financial Officer Derica Rice, who had been filling in as acting CEO during Lechleiter’s medical leave, will continue as CFO.

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