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Sigma-Aldrich Chairman and CEO Jai Nagarkatti Dies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sigma-Aldrich Chairman, CEO, and President Jai Nagarkatti has died from an apparent heart attack.

Nagarkatti was 63 and died in St. Louis on Nov. 13, according to the firm.

He spent his entire career at Sigma-Aldrich, beginning in 1976, and worked in a number of different parts of the company including R&D, manufacturing, operations, and sales and marketing. He steadily climbed the corporate ladder, and in 2004 was elected president and COO of Sigma-Aldrich. A year later, he joined its board of directors.

In 2006 he was elected CEO, and became chairman of the board in 2009.

"The entire Sigma-Aldrich global organization mourns the loss of Jai and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Susan, and his daughter Shanti," Barrett Toan, Sigma-Aldrich's presiding director, said in a statement. "Our deepest sympathies go out to them. He was respected by the company's 7,700 employees and will be missed."

Toan, 63, was elected as chairman of Sigma-Aldrich. He served as chairman of Express Scripts from 1996 to 2006, and CEO of the pharmacy benefits management company from 1989 to 2005. He has been on Sigma-Aldrich's board since 2001.

Nagarkatti's position as president and CEO will be filled by Rakesh Sachdev, the company said. Sachdev was most recently CFO, chief administrative officer, and senior vice president of Sigma-Aldrich's international business. Sachdev was appointed to the board of directors over the weekend.

He joined Sigma-Aldrich in 2008 from ArvinMeritor where he was senior vice president and president of its Asia-Pacific operations. Prior to that, Sachdev, 54, served in various positions, including interim CFO, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, and vice president and general manager of several of ArvinMeritor's global businesses.

Before joining ArvinMeritor, he was at Cummins in a number of leadership roles, including CFO for one of its largest business units, and managing director of its Mexican business. Cummins designs, manufactures, distributes, and services engines and related technologies.

Replacing Sachdev as interim CFO is Kirk Richter. He currently is vice president and treasurer of Sigma-Aldrich and will continue in those responsibilities. The company is searching for a permanent CFO.

Richter, 64, started at Sigma-Aldrich in 1978 and has been vice president and treasurer since 1998. He was previously corporate controller from 1983 to 1998.

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