It has been a mixed business year for pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca after buying biotechnology firm Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) last year for £702 million, and having an important stroke drug fail in clinical trials and development work on it pulled.

However, the company’s results were impressive. Its profits for the year rose by 28.3 per cent to £3.1 billion, but it has also said that it has plans to cut 3,000 jobs around the world over the next three years.
AstraZeneca plans to focus on boosting its drug development programme, as it faces increasing competition from generic versions of its drugs when their patents expire.

The company appointed a new CIO, Rich Williams, after Paul Burfitt, who had been global CIO at the company for seven years, retired last year. The two had been working closely together for the last five months of Burfitt’s tenure to ensure a smooth handover.

Burfitt had been responsible for increasing the business value delivered to the company by the IT function, improving IS productivity and developing its people and talent. Last year it completed its CRM and PeopleSoft HR systems implementations to support the increased focus on drug development and research. It was also doing global rollouts of SAP, CRM, HR and email upgrades. Williams reports to the senior executive team, with overall responsibility for global IS.