Kristin Peck to take over as CEO of Zoetis on Jan. 1

Kristin Peck will take over as CEO of Parsippany-based Zoetis on Jan. 1, the Fortune 500 company announced Thursday morning.

Peck’s ascension is part of an orderly succession plan, the animal health company said. Juan Ramón Alaix, who has been CEO of Zoetis since its formation in 2012, has decided to retire as CEO effective Dec. 31. He will act as an adviser on the leadership transition through the end of 2020.

Peck, 48, will join the company’s board of directors immediately.

Peck currently serves as executive vice president and group president of U.S. operations, business development and strategy. She has been a member of the Zoetis executive leadership team since the company’s formation. She will remain in her current position until the transition is complete at the end of this year.

The announcement culminates an extraordinary seven-year run by Alaix. Under his leadership, the company has strengthened its position as the global leader in animal health, with $5.8 billion in revenue in 2018 and a market capitalization of nearly $60 billion.

From Feb. 1, 2013, when Zoetis’ common shares first started trading, through Sept. 30 of this year, the company’s cumulative total shareholder return has been 322%, versus 126% for the Standard & Poor’s 500, the company said.

In May, the company joined the Fortune 500 for the first time, coming in at No. 487 in the annual rankings.

Juan Ramón Alaix is retiring from Zoetis.

Peck has played a significant role in the success of Zoetis, leading the company’s global manufacturing and supply organization, new product marketing and global market research.

Since 2015, she has run U.S. operations and established a track record of consistently growing revenue faster than the overall animal health market, while overseeing the successful launch of new companion animal blockbusters, such as Simparica and Cytopoint for dogs, as well as the continued growth of Apoquel into one of the largest products in the industry.

Peck has played a key role in establishing a more data- and insight-driven sales and marketing function for the benefit of customers in the U.S., the company said. And, since 2018, Peck also has led the company’s corporate strategy and business development activities.

Peck also has been a passionate leader for colleague development. As the recipient of the 2019 Feather in Her Cap Award, she was honored for her work in mentoring women and helping them advance their careers in animal health.

With her promotion, Peck becomes one of just a handful of female CEOs in the state.

And, while her elevation to the board gives that group only three female members out of 12, she is one of four females out of the company’s nine-member executive team.

Peck previously served as Pfizer’s executive vice president of worldwide business development and innovation, as part of the company’s executive leadership team. In this role, she was responsible for the evaluation of strategic alternatives for Pfizer’s animal health and nutrition businesses. (Zoetis spun off from New York-based Pfizer in 2012-13.)

Peck also has experience working in consulting, private equity and real estate finance. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia Business School, where she still serves as a member of the advisory board for the school’s Deming Center. She has also been a member of the Thomson Reuters board of directors since 2016.

Peck, in a statement, said she was eager to take on the new role.

“Zoetis plays an essential role in caring for the pets and livestock that enrich people’s lives, and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead our company as the next CEO,” she said. “I look forward to working with the board, Juan Ramón and the Zoetis executive team on this transition.

“We will continue to serve our customers, colleagues, shareholders and society by advancing animal health, and we will remain committed to building on the strategies, diverse portfolio, talented people and financial discipline that have been critical to our success.”

Alaix and Zoetis Chair Michael McCallister saluted her promotion.

“Kristin is the right leader for Zoetis’ future,” Alaix said. “She is an advocate for our customers’ needs, a champion of Zoetis’ culture and values, and an inspirational and collaborative leader for our people and industry. Her strategic vision and proven track record of performance throughout her tenure at the company, as well as her operational experience and deep customer knowledge, have her well-prepared to drive Zoetis’ continued growth for the benefit of all our key stakeholders.”

McCalllister noted Peck’s many accomplishments at the company.

“Kristin has been an integral part of the management team that has firmly established Zoetis as the world leader in animal health,” he said. “As head of U.S. operations, she has been an innovator around customer experience, creating new customer loyalty programs and investing in digital tools, campaigns and direct-to-consumer advertising to support our growth.

“She has a disciplined growth mindset when it comes to leading our business development and strategy functions, and, earlier in her tenure, she helped drive improvements in manufacturing and supply chain to make them more efficient. Kristin has the passion, talent and experience necessary to lead Zoetis in the next stage of its journey.”