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Bayer taps Nestle executive to stem eroding consumer care sales

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: November 15th, 2017 | 0 Comments

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German drugmaker Bayer has hired the head of Nestle’s baby food business to reverse a decline in revenue at its embattled consumer health division from next March.

Bayer has appointed Nestle’s Heiko Schipper, 48, to the board of management effective March 1, 2018, the drugs and pesticides maker said in a statement on Wednesday.

Current head of the consumer health business, Erica Mann, will then leave the company before the end of her current contract, which would have run until the end of 2018, Bayer added.

Bayer’s non-prescription drugs unit, boosted by a $14 billion acquisition of brands from Merck Co in 2014, has been grappling with declining sales.

Bayer was caught off guard by the speed of U.S. consumers switching to online stores such as Amazon, at the expense of established drugstore operators.

With consumers able to easily compare prices on the Internet, Bayer’s premium brands such as sunscreen Coppertone or allergy remedy Claritin have suffered.

U.S. drugstore chains have merged in response to the online threat, wielding increased purchasing power to squeeze procurement prices.

Bayer’s consumer health unit reported a 7.4 percent fall in third quarter sales, down 2.9 percent adjusted for currency fluctuations and portfolio changes.

Nine-month sales were down 0.8 percent at 4.46 billion euros ($5.27 billion).

Nestle on Wednesday confirmed Schipper’s departure, saying it would seek to improve performance at its infant nutrition business by managing it regionally, not globally.

Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Jason Neely

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