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Heather Bresch

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Heather Manchin Bresch
File:Heather Bresch.jpg
Heather Bresch testifying before the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce in 2012.
Born Heather Manchin[1]
Residence Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania[2]
Nationality American
Other names Heather Kirby[3]
Alma mater West Virginia University (B.A., 1991)
Occupation Chief executive officer
Spouse(s) Jeffrey Bresch
Douglas Kirby (divorced)
Family Joe Manchin (father)

Heather Bresch (born Heather Manchin) is an American business executive and public policy advocate. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Mylan, a global pharmaceutical company based in Pennsylvania. She was named one of Fortune Magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women In Business" in 2012 and 2013.

Early life and education

Bresch grew up in Fairmont and Farmington, West Virginia in a Catholic Italian American family.[4] Her father, Joe Manchin, was a prominent politician throughout her childhood and is presently the United States Senator from West Virginia.[1] Bresch attended Fairmont Senior High School in Fairmont, West Virginia[5] and graduated from West Virginia University (WVU) in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations.[6]

MBA controversy

Bresch was an MBA student at West Virginia University until 1998. In 2007, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Bresch had claimed to have an MBA degree from West Virginia University, but the university disputed that. The university subsequently awarded her an MBA despite her not having attained sufficient credits (22 out of the required 48). In the ensuing controversy, the university announced in April 2008 that it would rescind Bresch's degree. Michael Garrison, WVU President at the time, was reported to be "a family friend and former business associate of Bresch"[7] and a former consultant and lobbyist for Mylan.[8] After a faculty vote of no confidence, Garrison and several university officials subsequently resigned.[9][10]


Early work

At a WVU basketball game in 1992, Bresch's father mentioned his daughter's job search to Mylan CEO Milan Puskar. The company soon thereafter offered her a low-level position in the quality control department of a factory in Morgantown. According to Bresch, she had misgivings about the offer. Her father said she should "absolutely take it" and try for a year. She took his advice, and started as a clerk, typing labels. She received frequent promotions during the following years, "working hard and learning the industry inside out".[4]

Government relations and advocacy

From 2002 to 2005, Bresch served as Mylan's director of government relations.[11][12] She contributed to the development of the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA, also known as "Medicare Part D").[13]

When Mylan expanded internationally, Bresch noticed that Mylan's US-based pharmaceutical manufacturing plant had full-time staff from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) devoted to it, whereas facilities abroad had not been inspected by the FDA for more than a decade.[11][14] Bresch persuaded several of Mylan's competitors to support what became the Generic Drug User Fee Act, which she proposed to lawmakers in 2010.[15] Under the law the pharmaceutical industry would pay fees of $300 million in order to fund FDA inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities at the same rate as US-based facilities.[11][14][15][16] To advocate for the new law, she made regular visits to Washington, D.C., and sponsored a whitepaper.[17][18] The Generic Drug User Fee Act of 2012 was passed on July 9, 2012 and required FDA inspections of pharmaceutical manufacturing locations abroad if they are importing into the US.[17]

Bresch has also advocated for broader availability of EpiPens in public places to treat anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions),[17] and has been active in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS treatment in developing nations.[19][20] She helped facilitate the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which made epinephrine more accessible in schools.[21]

Business executive

Heather Bresch served in several executive roles at Mylan, such as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Development,[22] Head of North American Operations,[23] Chief Operating Officer and Chief Integration Officer.[17][24] Bresch led the integrations of Matrix Laboratories Limited and Merck KGaA's generics and specialty pharmaceutical businesses with Mylan's operations.[17] She was also the chair of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) for two terms.[25] Bresch was appointed President of Mylan in 2009[17] and joined Mylan's Board of Directors in March 2011.[26]

Bresch's appointment as Chief Executive Officer was announced in 2001 and she officially took the position in January 2012.[17][18] Bresch was the first female CEO of a large pharmaceutical business.[27] At the time, she was one of 18 female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company.[28] She was ranked 31 in Fortune Magazine's 2014 "50 Most Powerful Women" list[11][13][27][29] Bresch initially did not think her role as a female executive was significant. After seeing how few female candidates were available for positions that require a background in science and math, she became more interested in promoting math and science education among young girls.[30]

As CEO of Mylan, Bresch continued advocating for more regulation of the pharmaceutical industry by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[15] She was recognized in Esquire's 2011 "Patriots of the Year" list for her work pushing for the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA).[31]

Under Bresch's leadership, Mylan made several acquisitions, including a $1.6 billion acquisition of Agila Specialties.[21] A $5.3 billion acquisition of Abbott Laboratories was announced[32] in conjunction with plans to re-organize the company in the Netherlands and move its domicile to a country with lower taxes.[33] The New York Times said there was something "disconcerting" about a company that benefits from large government contracts renouncing their citizenship for tax benefits, but Mylan would eventually save almost 10 percent of its revenues in taxes each year.[31] Bresch said it was a difficult choice to make, but it had to be done to maintain competitiveness against pharmaceutical manufacturers that had already executed similar inversion strategies.[31]

Personal life

Bresch is married to Jones Day lawyer Jeffrey J. Bresch. She was previously married to West Virginia businessman Douglas Kirby. She lives with her husband and four children in Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania.[2][3][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Leslie P. Norton (March 2, 2013). "Medicine Woman". Barron's. Retrieved February 6, 2015. Her father, Joe Manchin, is the former governor of West Virginia, and now the state's junior senator in Washington, D.C. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lott, Ethan (April 26, 2013). "High-end home sales have been going strong over the past three years". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015. No. 1, 202-204 Scaife Road in Sewickley Heights, was bought by Jeffrey Bresch and Mylan Inc. CEO Heather Bresch from IPEG Inc. Chairman G. Watts Humphrey and Sally K. Humphrey for $2.85 million. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Patricia Sabatini and Len Boselovic (December 21, 2007). "MBA mystery in Morgantown". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 6, 2015. One of those documents mentions Ms. Bresch -- Ms. Kirby at the time because of her earlier marriage to Douglas Kirby -- by name. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bowman, Nikki (June 11, 2012). "No Generic Success Story". WV Living Magazine. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  5. King, Joselyn (May 17, 2008). "Garrison: I Need To Stay at WVU". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News Register. Retrieved February 6, 2015. Garrison, a Marion County native, also is a long-time friend of the Manchin family who attended Fairmont Senior High School in Fairmont, W.Va., with Bresch.  (Subscription required.)
  6. Taube, Aaron (September 6, 2014). "29 People With ‘Soft’ College Majors Who Became Extremely Successful". Business Insider Indonesia. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  7. Len Boselovic and Patricia Sabatini, "University revokes degree after scathing report on M.B.A. awarded to Bresch", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 24 April 2008, accessed 2008-04-24
  8. Ian Urbina, "University Investigates Whether Governor’s Daughter Earned Degree", New York Times, 22 January 2008, accessed 2008-04-24
  9. "College president to quit over degree scandal", 6 June 2008, accessed 2008-06-06
  10. "Provost Quits Over Degree to Governor’s Child", New York Times, 28 April 2008, accessed 2008-04-28
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Burnside, Mary. "Leading Ladies". Corridor Magazine. pp. 16–20. 
  12. Bosco, Andrea (April 22, 2014). "Mylan CEO Continues To Expand International Medicine Efforts". WHIRL Magazine. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Bowman, Nikki (June 11, 2012). "No Generic Success Story". West Virginia Living. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Harris, Gardiner (August 13, 2011). "Deal in Place for Inspecting Foreign Drugs". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Clemons, Steve (June 12, 2012). "What it really takes to change Washington". Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  16. Heffernan, Tim. "Esquire's Americans of the year:Patriots". Esquire. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Norton, Leslie (March 2, 2013). "Medicine Woman". Barron's. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Mylan names Heather Bresch as CEO". Charleston Daily Mail. October 27, 2011. 
  19. Ernst & Young (June 22, 2014). "Entrepreneur of the Year 2014". Trib Total Media. 
  20. "Mylan to continue fast pace of growth under Bresch". The State Journal. May 31, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 Leahey, Colleen (November 21, 2013). "Mylan CEO Heather Bresch on why she admires Bill Gates". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  22. Hohmann, George (July 14, 2005). "Manchin's Marion posse". Charleston Daily Mail. pp. 1C. 
  23. Jack W. Plunkett (October 2007). Plunkett's Health Care Industry Almanac 2008: The Only Comprehensive Guide To The Health Care Industry. Plunkett Research, Ltd. p. 547. ISBN 978-1-59392-096-8. 
  24. Sabatini, Patricia; Boselovi, Len (December 21, 2007). "MBA mystery in Morgantown". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  25. Mamula, Kris (December 20, 2013). "Personalities of Pittsburgh: Heather Bresch". Pittsburg Business Times. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  26. Mamula, Kris (March 1, 2011). "Heather Bresch named to Mylan board". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 Jett, Jennifer (Winter 2014). "West Virginia’s Leading Lady". West Virginia Executive. Retrieved September 26, 2014.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "five" defined multiple times with different content
  28. Nixon, Alex (October 27, 2011). "Mylan's Heather Bresch added to brief list of female CEOs". Pittsburgh Tribune. 
  29. "31: Heather Bresch". Fortune Magazine. 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  30. Fairchild, Caroline (August 28, 2014). "The Broadsheet: August 28th". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Sorkin, Andrew (July 14, 2014). "Reluctantly, Patriot Flees Homeland for Greener Tax Pastures". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  32. Nixon, Alex (September 17, 2014). "Mylan CEO Bresch sets sights on growth". Tribune Business News. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  33. Portillo, Caroline (July 25, 2014). "'Inversion' is a hot button issue, but for Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, it could be a family feud". BizJournals. Retrieved September 26, 2014.