UPDATE 3-Hospira CEO, COO to retire

* 58-year-old CEO to retire when replacement named

* Seeking external candidates for CEO

* COO, 55, to retire by year-end

* Shares fall by as much as 3.2 percent
(Adds CEO interview, byline; updates stock price)

By Debra Sherman

CHICAGO, Aug 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Hospira Inc (HSP.N: ) said its
chief executive and chief operating officers, both in their
50s, would retire from the specialty drug and medication
delivery company.

Chris Begley, 58, will remain in his CEO position until a
successor is named, after which he will stay on as executive
chairman.

Chief Operating Officer Terrence Kearney, 55, will retire
by the end of 2010.

The announcement, which comes one day after it held a
meeting with Wall Street analysts, was unexpected and sent
Hospira shares down as much as 3.2 percent in morning trading.

“There’s no smoking gun here whatsoever,” Begley said in a
telephone interview, adding the job of CEO is all consuming and
he seeks balance in his life.

He said everything about the company, including its outlook
for earnings, is “completely on track.”

“There is no change in market dynamics, all our programs
are in place,” Begley said. “This gives us an orderly
transition. I’m going to stay on as executive chairman, sitting
in same office as I’ve been in for the last 7 years. This gives
us an opportunity to look for someone with global large company
healthcare experience and bring them into this organization as
CEO.”

The board has formed a search committee and hired executive
search firm Egon Zehnder to find a new chief executive outside
the company with a strong healthcare background and experience
leading large multinational corporations.

During a conference call with analysts, Begley said the
search process was still in its early stages and did not say
how long he expected the process to take. He said the company
was not considering internal candidates because there was no
one with the right experience.

The company also said James Hardy, currently corporate vice
president, supply chain, would assume the new position of
senior vice president, operations, effective Dec. 31.

The shares of Hospira, which was spun off from Abbott
Laboratories (ABT.N: ) six years ago, were down 2.8 percent at
$50.71 at midday in New York. That is up about 88 percent from
their closing on May 3, 2004, the first day of trading as an
independent public company.
(Reporting by Debra Sherman; editing by Gerald E. McCormick,
Lisa Von Ahn and Andre Grenon)

UPDATE 3-Hospira CEO, COO to retire