Eli Lilly compliance and ethics chief Barnes to retire

Mar 23, 2021
Melissa Barnes has been with the company since 1994

Melissa Barnes, Eli Lilly and Company’s senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer, will retire on June 27 after more than 26 years with the pharmaceutical company.

Alonzo Weems, currently vice president and deputy general counsel, will succeed Barnes as senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer. He will report to Lilly chair and CEO David Ricks and join Lilly’s executive committee.

Barnes joined Lilly in 1994 and took on her current role in 2013. During her time with the company, she has held positions including general counsel for Lilly Diabetes and Lilly Oncology and deputy general counsel, a role in which she was responsible for overseeing all global litigation and investigations as well as managing the corporate secretary’s office and specialty legal functions.

Among many other achievements, Barnes’ ethics and compliance team won Corporate Secretary’s 2017 Corporate Governance Award for best use of technology.

‘Melissa has been a trusted partner to me, our board and her colleagues, leading ethics and compliance and enterprise risk management for nearly a decade. Under her leadership, we have been recognized five years running as one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere,’ Ricks says in a statement. ‘Melissa’s leadership helped reinforce the values ingrained by our founder and ensured we continually meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.’

Before joining Lilly in 1997, Weems was an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. His roles at Lilly have included general counsel of Lilly Canada, general counsel for Lilly USA and general counsel for the global bio-medicines and diabetes business units, which included responsibilities for legal teams in Australia, Canada, China, Europe and Japan.

In his present role, Weems is responsible for the corporate legal functions including commercial transactions, litigation, regulatory and human resources. He will take on his new role on June 27.

Ricks says: ‘Alonzo’s legal roles, including extensive experience directly supporting our commercial efforts, make him the right leader to advance our strong compliance culture and lead our global risk-management effort.’


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