It was all planned when Nycomed of Norway merged with Amersham International of the UK in October 1997. Richard Lapthorne, non-executive deputy chairman, will succeed Johan Fr Odfjell as non-executive chairman at the annual meeting on 6 May. Mr Odfjell will in turn succeed Mr Lapthorne as non- executive deputy chairman.
Mr Lapthorne, a Francophile who spends much of the year living in his house in France, has made a fortune from his share options in British Aerospace, where he is vice-chairman. He also finds time to be chairman of Morse, the recently floated computer services group, and a non-exec at Orange and Robert Fleming.