FILE PHOTO: Robert J. Coury, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mylan, speaks during a news conference with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (not pictured), in New York, August 6, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East

(Reuters) – Mylan NV (MYL.O) on Wednesday named Chairman Robert Coury to the role of executive chairman to help steer the drugmaker through the coronavirus pandemic and its delayed merger with Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) off-patent branded drug unit, Upjohn.

Coury had previously served as executive chairman between 2012 and 2016. He was also the company’s chief executive officer for a decade, during which he substantially increased the company’s generic drug footprint.

Mylan is now banking on that experience to help it through a critical time for drugmakers and corporate America in general, as the global economy heads for what is likely to be a deep recession.

“Given the unprecedented current operating environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic … the Mylan Board has determined that it is in the best interests of the company for Mr. Coury to assume this position effective immediately,” Mylan said in a statement.

Coury will also partner with Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to work on the merger, which aims to bring the company’s emergency allergy shot EpiPen and Pfizer’s blockbuster treatments, Viagra and Lipitor, under one umbrella.

The deal, previously expected to close in mid-2020, was delayed to the second half of this year due to the pandemic. Coury will stay on as executive chairman of the combined company, to be named Viatris.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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