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German chemical giant Bayer has appointed Bill Anderson as its new chief executive officer.

Anderson, a chemical engineer by education, would take over from the company’s current CEO Werner Baumann on 1 June, Bayer said on 8 February.

“He [Anderson] is the ideal candidate to lead Bayer together with the team into a new, successful chapter at a time of a disruptive innovation cycle in biology, chemistry and artificial intelligence,” Prof Dr Norbert Winkeljohann, chairman of Bayer AG’s supervisory board, said.

Baumann would work closely with Anderson during the transition period before retiring from Bayer after 35 years of service, including seven years as CEO, at the end of May, the company said.

Anderson would be in charge of restoring the company’s reputation following a series of lawsuits after its acquisition of US group Monsanto in 2016, French newspaper Le Monde wrote on 10 February.

Monsanto was the owner of the glyphosate-based fertiliser Roundup, which had been at the centre of seven years of litigation in the USA, which had cost Bayer more than US$10bn, the report said.

The appointment of Anderson and the arrival of two activist investors in January could be a sign that the company was planning to refocus its business on pharmaceuticals, Le Monde wrote.