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Cephalon names J. Kevin Buchi new CEO

Cephalon Inc. on Thursday named J. Kevin Buchi as CEO and a member of the company's board of directors, making his temporary responsibilities at the biotechnology company permanent.

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

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

Buchi has been serving as acting chief executive officer 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 will "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 revenues in 2009. It employs 4,000 people, including about 1,000 in the region.

Earlier this month, it purchased 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 were priced early this afternoon at $63.81, down 65 cents.