Julphar chief executive steps down as company faces mounting pressure

The company did not give a reason for Jerome Carle's departure from the firm

Ras al Khaimah - June 30, 2010 - An operator holds a basket of tablets of the Type 1 Diabetes medicine Dialon in Gulf Pharmaceuticals Julphar in Ras al Khaimah, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Jeff Topping/The National)
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The chief executive of Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries is stepping down from his post at the UAE’s troubled listed drugs manufacturer.

Julphar, as the pharmaceutical firm is commonly known, said Jerome Carle has “tendered his resignation” and the board has accepted it. His last working day will be December 8, the firm said in a statement to Abu Dhabi Security Exchange, where its shares are listed.

Julphar did not give a reason for Mr Carle’s departure from the firm. He joined the company as corporate chief financial officer in January 2017 and took over the role of general manager in August 2017. He has been serving as chief executive since May this year, according to his LinkedIn profile. He previously worked for French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.

Julphar, one of the biggest generic drugs manufacturers in the Middle East and North Africa, in recent months had to recall several of its products from cough syrups to mouthwash, as health authorities in the UAE raised concerns.

The Ras al Khaimah-headquartered firm has also replaced several of its top executives in recent months and appointed new board members as financial stress mounted on the firm. The company also cut about 150 jobs, or 3 per cent of its workforce, Bloomberg reported in July.

A small proportion of staff were affected by a “modest restructuring” and the company was in the process of announcing its new executive team, Mr Carle told the news agency at the time,  saying it was working with consultancy firms to help optimise the business.

A September 2018 ban on the company’s exports to the Saudi Arabia, the biggest GCC pharma market, added to Julphar’s woes.

The firm, which has about Dh817 million of debt as of June 30, last month reported net sales of Dh100.1m and a net loss of Dh94.8m to shareholders for the second quarter of this year, citing the impact on its revenue from the Saudi ban.

“Our second quarter performance was disappointing primarily due to continued challenges in Saudi Arabia coupled with unfavourable conditions in some of our key markets. However, we have started a transformation that will make us stronger in the long run,” Mr Carle said in a statement carrying its financial results.

After the Saudi Food & Drug Authority’s ban, the company had focused on cost reductions and taken “actions to strengthen the organisation and maximise cash flows”, it said in the statement.