Shire to Relocate 500+ Positions to Massachusetts

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Shire PLC said it plans to relocate more than 500 positions from its Chesterbrook, Pa., location to Lexington, Mass., where it plans to establish its U.S. operational headquarters.

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The move is part of a broader effort to streamline the pharmaceutical company's global operations and will result in two principal locations, Massachusetts and Switzerland, along with a limited number of regional and country-based offices globally.

Shire is aiming for cost savings of roughly $25 million a year starting in 2016 as a result of the moves.

Shire Chief Executive Flemming Ornskov said the move provides an opportunity to combine its Chesterbrook and Lexington talent with the leading biotech resources in the Massachusetts area.

"We consider ready access to these resources an important element in the future growth of our company," he said in a news release.

The company also expects the moves will allow improved coordination and performance of its commercial and research-and-development teams.

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Shire plans to relocate employees in phases starting in the first quarter of next year and is aiming to wrap up in early 2016.

Shire also said it now expects interim Chief Financial Officer James Bowling to leave the company at the end of February. Last month, it had indicated he would depart at the end of the first quarter to join Severn Trent PLC as the British water utility's finance chief. The announcement came only days after the board of AbbVie Inc. walked away from a $54 billion planned takeover of Shire.

Mr. Bowling was named to the interim role as the company searched for a permanent to successor to Graham Hetherington, who stepped down earlier this year. Shire's investor relations head Jeff Poulton will assume the role of interim finance chief starting Jan. 1. That post will be based in Lexington, Mass.