Eli Lilly Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer John C. Lechleiter is taking a leave of absence from the company and will be temporarily replaced by Lilly Chief Financial Officer Derica W. Rice.

The company explained Monday that Lechleiter must step aside because of scheduled surgery to repair a dilated aorta. That surgery will be performed next Monday. According to Lilly, Lechleiter's departure will only be temporary, and he "is expected to make a full recovery and return to his duties later this summer."

Until that return, Rice will take the reins as interim CEO as dictated by the company's bylaws. Also, Ellen R. Marram, lead independent director on the board, will serve as acting chairman of the board.


Rice, a 22-year veteran of the firm, has served as CFO (traditionally the No. 2 spot in a company) for Lilly since 2006. Marram has served on the company's board for more than a decade.

Regardless, investors seem a bit shaken by the news. Lilly shares shed 1% of their value in Monday trading after the news came out, closing the day at $54.47.

The article Eli Lilly CEO Taking Leave of Absence originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Rich Smith and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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