António Portela succeeds Luís Portela and becomes CEO of the BIAL Group, marking the arrival of the fourth generation of the family at the helm of the company, founded in 1924 by Álvaro Portela.
Luís Portela is now non-executive Chairman, after managing the company for 32 years, during which time BIAL became the leading Portuguese pharmaceutical group and one of the most important in the Iberian Peninsula.
The Group has adopted a strong professional structure that will allow continuation of the work so far. According to Luís Portela, “these changes in the Board are part of the major goals of BIAL for the next decade, which encompass the continuity of R&D projects and the strengthening of our international expansion."
Most recently, António Portela was international business manager, with responsibility for the group's expansion and entry into new countries. "I am excited to take on the huge challenge to drive the future of a company founded by my great-grandfather and projected to the forefront of the sector by the courage and determination of my father" - said the new CEO.
António Portela, 36 years old, holds a degree in economics from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Oporto and an MBA from EGP-UPBS. He began his career in 2000 in the UK, where he worked four years for the multinational pharmaceutical company Roche. He then returned to Portugal to join the BIAL team, initially working in marketing for the Portuguese market, and latterly in the international area.
Luís Portela, Chairman of Bial, will continue as President of the BIAL Foundation, President of the Health Cluster Portugal and also of the General Council of the University of Porto.
Focus on Research and Internationalization
Over recent years, BIAL has made great efforts to become a research-based company, which culminated with the launch of the antiepileptic Zebinix, the first drug of Portuguese origin to be globally marketed.
Led by Luís Portela, BIAL became the largest Portuguese pharmaceutical group during the 80’s, and by the 90's had started the process of international expansion, resulting in the marketing of its medicines in over 40 countries.
In 1993, BIAL created its Department of Research and Development - where 117 people from eight different countries work - developing since then fruitful research activities in association with around one hundred research institutions, many of them universities.
Over the next decade, BIAL’s goal is to launch several more proprietary drugs resulting from its own research and also to strengthen its international presence, particularly in Europe.