Parexel International Taps New CEO Jamie Macdonald

Parexel Jamie MacDonald

After 35 years at the helm of contract research organization PAREXEL International, co-founder Josef von Rickenbach is stepping down from his role as chief executive officer. He will be replaced by Jamie Macdonald effective March 15, the company announced.

Although von Rickenbach is handing off the day-to-day management of the company he will continue to guide Parexel as he will remain chairman of the company’s board of directors. Von Rickenbach co-founded Parexel in 1982 and has since served as chairman and CEO. Since the launch of the company, it has grown to have a valuation of more than five billion dollars with operations in more than 100 countries.

It was slightly less than a year ago that Parexel was acquired by Pamplona Capital Management for $5 billion following a restructuring program initiated in January 2017. Part of that restructuring including the slashing of about 1,000 jobs.

Looking back over the past 35 years von Rickenbach said the biopharmaceutical services industry has become more “dynamic and exciting” than ever. He said when Parexel began more than 35 years ago it was not only the beginning of a new company but also the “dawn of a new industry.” With McDonald at the helm of the company, von Rickenbach expressed confidence in the future of the company.

“… Jamie is the right leader to take Parexel into the future. I am confident that our next generation will be an even greater one and I am delighted to have him join the company. I look forward to working with Jamie to continue Parexel’s leadership in the marketplace,” von Rickenbach said in a statement.

Before taking over the helm of Parexel McDonald led Syneos Health (Formerly known as INC Research/inVentiv Health), for several years, first chief operating officer, then as CEO and most recently as vice chairman of the board. While at the helm of INC Research Macdonald oversaw industry-leading growth and margins and helped drive strong operational and market performance at the company. He also successfully took INC Research public in 2014. In addition to his time at INC Research Macdonald held multiple leadership roles across the industry, including head of global product management at Quintiles, now known as IQVIA.

Macdonald called it a “tremendous honor” to join Parexel as CEO.

“As a trailblazer in the biopharmaceutical services industry, the company enjoys well-deserved recognition as having the kind of deep therapeutic and functional expertise, global reach and innovative capability to continue its leadership. Joe carefully crafted and nurtured an entrepreneurial spirit that is well established, and his role in the development of the industry cannot be overstated. I am humbled to have the opportunity to build on this legacy and look forward to continued growth and excellence for Parexel,” Macdonald said in a statement.

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