Zan Guerry exits Chattem CEO job, now chair of former family business

Zan Guerry exits Chattem CEO job, now chair of former family business

Robert Long to take over as new CEO

November 13th, 2014 by Mike Pare in Local - Breaking News

Robert Long of Chattem is seen in front of pallets of Allegra at the company's Chattanooga warehouse in this file photo.

Robert Long of Chattem is seen in front...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Chattanooga-based Chattem Inc. has elevated its president to chief executive while longtime CEO Zan Guerry will serve as chairman of the consumer health care company.

Robert Long, the company's 43-year-old president since July, today was promoted as the day-to-day head of the business.

Guerry, 65, said he'll serve half time in his new role and be available for Long and the rest of the Chattem team.

"It's vital to have someone who understands the dynamics," said Guerry about Long, who joined Chattem in 2006 and has served as its chief financial officer and executive vice president.

Guerry joined Chattem, which has been associated with his family for many years, in 1978. He served as CEO for 25 years.

Chattanooga's Zan Guerry

Chattanooga's Zan Guerry

Photo by Matt Fields-Johnson

Long also has been the point man between Chattem and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which bought Chattem in 2010 for $1.9 billion in cash.

"I recognize the legacy," said Long. "We'll move forward and grow our great brands."

While Chattem sales late last decade were about $400 million, retail sales now have topped $1 billion a year. The company has taken the blockbuster allergy medicine Allegra from a prescription medicine to over-the-counter sales, and it later did the same for nasal allergy spray Nasacort.

In May, Chattem said it planned to launch erectile dysfunction medicine Cialis as an over-the-counter drug if the switch from prescription sales can gain regulatory approval. Cialis last year garnered more than $942 million in U.S. sales.

Chattem employs about 600 people in Chattanooga.

See more in Friday's Times Free Press.