J. Kevin Buchi, a longtime executive with Cephalon Inc., has been named chief executive officer of the Frazer biopharmaceutical-maker.

Buchi, 55, replaces the late Frank Baldino Jr., Cephalon's founder, who died of leukemia last week.

Buchi has been acting chief executive since August. He has served in a variety of executive roles since joining the company in 1991, including chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Buchi will serve on the company board. No one has yet been named to replace Baldino as chairman of the board.

The company said in a statement that the board would "address the company chairman in the future." In the meantime, William P. Egan will continue to serve as presiding board member, the company said.

"Kevin is an experienced pharmaceutical executive who has been involved in every aspect of running our business," Egan said in a statement. "Over the course of many years, Kevin worked closely with Frank Baldino Jr. to create the company that we know today, and he has the passion, leadership skills, organizational abilities, and unwavering commitment to patients that are critical to ensuring Cephalon's continued growth and success."

Buchi, who was traveling, could not be reached for comment.

The company released the following statement from him: "I intend to continue the same strategic course for the company. Cephalon is an extraordinary company with one of the most robust pipelines in the industry focused on patients suffering from rare disorders and diseases for which there are no cures. . . . I am confident that our diverse product portfolio, rich pipeline, and global presence position us well for long-term growth and success."

Founded in 1987, Cephalon is now a global company that reported $2.19 billion in revenue in 2009. It employs 4,000 people, including about 1,000 in the region.

Earlier this month, it bought a 20 percent stake in an Australian company for rights to commercialize stem cell therapies for cardiovascular and nervous-system conditions, including heart failure and Parkinson's disease.

In Nasdaq trading, shares closed at $64, down 46 cents.