John retired as Eli Lilly’s president and chief executive officer on December 31, 2016, after 37 years with the company. He also served as chairman of the board of directors of Lilly from January 2009 through May 2017.
John joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development and became head of that department in 1982. In 1984, he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Centre Limited in Windlesham, England. He later held roles in project management, regulatory affairs, product development, and pharma operations. In 2005, he was named Lilly’s president and chief operating officer and joined the board of directors. He became CEO on April 1, 2008.
John earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Xavier University in 1975 and master’s and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He has received honorary doctorates from Marian University (Indianapolis, Indiana), the University of Indianapolis, the National University of Ireland, Indiana University, Franklin College, Butler University, and Purdue University.
John is a member of the American Chemical Society. He serves as vice chair of the board of the Chemical Heritage Foundation and is a member emeritus of the board of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. John also serves on the boards of Ford Motor Company, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Nike, Inc., and United Way Worldwide.