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Elanco Animal Health Taps Roche for New General Counsel

June 4, 2021, 4:39 PM

Elanco Animal Health Inc. has named former Novartis and Roche Diagnostics lawyer Marcela Kirberger as its next general counsel, months after ex legal chief Michael-Bryant Hicks departed the veterinary services company.

Kirberger will officially join Greenfield, Ind.-based Elanco’s executive team on June 22 after two years with Roche Diagnostics, according to a Friday statement from the company. Hicks left Elanco in February to join Apria Healthcare, and Catherine Powell has served as Elanco’s interim general counsel.

“The critical importance of healthy animals to people and the planet has never been more evident than in the past year, so I’m looking forward to joining this growing industry and company to make a positive impact,” Kirberger said in the statement.

Demand for animal health care and services has increased during the pandemic as people spend more time than ever with their pets, leading to multiple quarters of strong sales for companies like Elanco.

Elanco reported $1.2 billion in sales for the quarter ending March 31 compared to $658 million the year before, according to its first quarter earnings report.

The company, which went public in 2018 and acquired Bayer’s animal health unit last fall, also reported a net loss of $61 million despite the surge in revenue.

Kirberger was general counsel and corporate secretary in North America for the diagnostics branch of Roche, a Swiss multinational that’s one of the largest global players in healthcare.

Before that, she was global general counsel and chief compliance officer of Leica Microsystems. She has also worked for Sandoz International GmbH, Novartis International AG, and Nestle Nutrition North America, which includes baby foods brand Gerber Products Co.

Kirberger began her career as a securities lawyer with Lowenstein Sandler.

“Marcela is a clear fit for Elanco, with the right mix of executive leadership experiences at U.S. and German based companies,” said Elanco president and CEO Jeff Simmons in the statement. “Her wide-ranging expertise in regulated, pharma, and over-the-counter in the human health sector complements our experienced animal health executive team, continuing to strengthen the management of key functional areas, such as Legal.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Chris Opfer at