John C. Lechleiter

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External video
Leadership Along the Path We Have Chosen, John Lechleiter, Voices in Leadership, March 31, 2015, Harvard University
Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter: ‘Engage People Like Never Before’, 2012, DiversityInc
CNBC interview with John Lechleiter, CEO and Chairman of Eli Lilly, 2010, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy

John C. Lechleiter is an American businessman and chemist.[1][2] He serves as the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eli Lilly and Company.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]


Early life[edit]

John C. Lechleiter was born in Louisville, Kentucky,[8] on August 17, 1952. He is the eldest of nine children of Jeanne and John H. Lechleiter.[8][9]

Lechleiter first participated in laboratory research in a summer research program at the University of Minnesota in 1974.[7] Lechleiter received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Xavier University in 1975.[4] He went on to receive a Master's degree and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Harvard University in 1980 after studying on a National Science Foundation Fellowship.[10] His thesis advisor was Dr. Paul A. Wender.[8]

John C. Lechleiter and his wife Sarah live in Indianapolis, Indiana, and have three children, Andrew, Daniel and Elizabeth.[8]


Lechleiter joined Eli Lilly and company in 1979 as senior organic chemist.[1][2][3][5][7] From 1984 to 1986, he served as director of pharmaceutical product development at the Lilly Research Centre Limited in Windlesham, England.[1][2][3] In 1986, he returned to the US as manager of research and development projects for Europe.[1][2][3] He became Director of development projects management in 1988, Executive Director of pharmaceutical product development in 1991, Vice President of pharmaceutical product development in 1993, and Vice President of regulatory affairs in 1994. Lechleiter became Vice President for development and regulatory affairs in 1996, and Senior Vice President of pharmaceutical products in 1998.[1][2][3] In 2001, he was appointed Executive Vice President for pharmaceutical products and corporate development.[1][2][3] In a 2003 e-mail, he discussed the use of the anti-schizophrenia or bipolar disorder drug Zyprexa for "disruptive kids",(an "off-label" use, for which drug manufacturers are not legally permitted to encourage) even if it was not approved by federal regulators because it could lead to diabetes.“The fact we are now talking to child psychs and peds and others about Strattera means that we must seize the opportunity to expand our work with Zyprexa in this same child-adolescent population."[11] In 2004, he became Executive Vice President for pharmaceutical operations.[1][2][3]

John Lechleiter served as Lilly's president and chief operating officer beginning in October 2005. He also joined Lilly's Board of Directors at that time. Lechleiter was elected as Lilly’s president and chief executive officer (CEO), effective April 1, 2008.[1][2][3][5][6] Effective January 1, 2009, Lechleiter was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eli Lilly and Company, succeeding Sidney Taurel.[12] In 2012, he earned US$15.57 million.[4] He is credited with successfully guiding the company through a difficult period in which patent protection expired for four of its main products (Gemzar, Zyprexa, Cymbalta and Evista), and for establishing a promising pipeline of possible new drugs.[13] His advice to others is "We like to move quickly, but the most important thing is to be patient, resolute, and be guided by the data."[14]

Lechleiter is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Business Roundtable and The Business Council.[1][2][3] He is Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and President of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations.[5] Lechleiter is on the Boards of Directors of Nike, Inc. (from 2009),[6][15] the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership[16] and the Great Lakes Chemical Corporation.[17]

He has served on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Xavier University, for a three-year term beginning in September 2004,[18] and on the board of the Life Sciences Foundation.[19] He serves as a distinguished advisor to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.[12][20] In 2014 he became chairman of United Way Worldwide,[21] which Lilly has supported for many years through both corporate giving and volunteerism.[22] Lilly employees are encouraged to participate in the Lilly Global Day of Service, an internationally-observed day of charitable work in their communities. Lechleiter began the initiative in 2008, the year that he became CEO.[8][23][24] Lechleiter has identified poor K-12 and STEM education as "this country's Achilles' heel",[7] and the Lechleiter family has contributed towards K-12 education via the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville.[9]

Awards and honors[edit]

He has received Honorary Doctorates from Marian University (2006), the University of Indianapolis (2012), and the National University of Ireland (2012).[1][3][8]

In 2012, he was awarded the inaugural Global Health Partner Award from Project HOPE.[25][26]

In 2014, he was named as the August M. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year for his work in supporting the development of the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute.[19]

In 2015, he received the 2015 International Citizen of the Year Award from the International Center of Indianapolis, Indiana.[27]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Executive Profile: John C. Lechleiter Ph.D.". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "John Lechleiter". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Executive Committee". Eli Lilly and Company. 
  4. ^ a b c "CEO Compensation #96 John C Lechleiter". 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d "PhRMA Chairman John Lechleiter: Biography". PhRMA. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "John C. Lechleiter Joins Nike's Board of Directors". Nike News. June 18, 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d "A Conversation with John Lechleiter". The GSAS Bulletin. Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Maguire, Anita (June 8, 2012). "TEXT OF THE INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS DELIVERED BY: PROFESSOR ANITA MAGUIRE, Vice President for Research & Innovation, University College Cork on 8 June 2012, on the occasion of the conferring of the Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, on JOHN LECHLEITER" (PDF). University College, Cork, Ireland. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Lechleiter Family to Donate $1 Million to the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville". Archdiocese of Louisville Press Release. April 23, 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Dr. John C Lechleiter". SCHED. EU Science: Global Challenges Global Collaboration Conference. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  11. ^ Berenson, Alex (March 15, 2008). "Eli Lilly E-Mail Discussed Unapproved Use of Drug". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "John Lechleiter Named Chairman of Lilly's Board of Directors". PRNewswire. September 18, 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Andrews, Greg (February 14, 2015). "How Eli Lilly CEO Lechleiter pulled company out of long slide". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Craig, Victoria (December 11, 2013). "Tales of the 'Accidental CEO': Eli Lilly's Lechleiter". Fox Business. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Corporate Governance". Nike Corporation. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "Board of Directors". Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Stay current on former Great Lakes Chemical Corporation executives and board members". Great Lakes Chemical Corporation. Equilar Atlas. 
  18. ^ Del Valle, Debora (September 30, 2005). "Xavier University Trustee Named Eli Lilly President and Chief Operating Officer". Xavier University Public Relations. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "Eli Lilly and Company Chairman, President and CEO John C. Lechleiter honored as Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year". BioCrossroads. October 15, 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Board of Trustees". The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  21. ^ "Lilly CEO elected chairman of United Way Worldwide board". Indianapolis Business Journal. May 14, 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  22. ^ McLaughlin, Andrew (November 19, 2013). "Lilly to Present Record-Breaking $12.6 Million Gift to United Way". PRNewsWire. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  23. ^ McLaughlin, Andrew (October 29, 2014). "Lilly to Present Record-Breaking $12.7 Million Gift to United Way". PRNewsWire. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "Lilly: Seventh Global Day of Service Focuses on Education and Health on Oct. 2 (Indianapolis)". Indiana Chamber. September 25, 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  25. ^ Marbaugh, David (June 19, 2012). "Blog and Video: Dr. Lechleiter, Lilly Receive Inaugural Project HOPE Partnership Award". 3BL Media. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  26. ^ "Leaders in Global Health Recognized at Inaugural Project HOPE Awards Program". Project Hope. June 12, 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  27. ^ "The International Center to Honor John Lechleiter as 2015 International Citizen of the Year". The International Center. April 13, 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015.