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Vertex Pharmaceuticals (MA) (VRTX) Taps Jeff Leiden as New CEO to Diversify Beyond Hepatitis C  
12/15/2011 8:09:25 AM

Boston Business Journal by Galen Moore, Web Editor

Dr. Jeffrey Leiden will take over as CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: VRTX), effective Feb. 1 of next year, the Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech announced Thursday in a news release.

Leiden, a managing director at life sciences venture capital firm Clarus Ventures, is to succeed current CEO Matthew Emmens, who plans to retire from full-time employment with Vertex, but will maintain a seat on the firm’s board of directors, the company stated.

Emmens joined Vertex nearly three years ago, and was paid $4.1 million by the company in 2010, making him the 17th highest-paid CEO of a public company in Boston. In July, Boston Business Journal ranked Emmens the most overpaid CEO in Boston, based on the company’s stock, sales and earnings performance.

Leiden, 56, has been a member of Vertex’s Board since July 2009. He is a former chief operating officer and president at Abbott Laboratories. He began his career in academia, holding positions at the University of Chicago and at Harvard Medical School as a practicing cardiologist and molecular biologist. As an academic, Leiden was involved in starting biotechnology companies, including Vical and Cardiogene.