FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Merck KGaA will promote its deputy chief executive, Stefan Oschmann, to the top job next year to replace Karl-Ludwig Kley, Manager Magazin reported on Friday, citing company sources.
The publication said Oschmann, 57, would take on the new role after the group's annual shareholder meeting in April 2016 or in September next year at the latest, when Kley's current contract expires.
The German drugs and chemicals maker last September appointed Oschmann, the head of its pharma business at the time, as deputy chief executive from January, sharing strategic management functions and representation of the company with Kley, who is 63.
A Merck spokeswoman said a decision on Kley's succession has not yet been made and that this would be a matter for the family-controlled group's board of partners. She declined to comment further.
Merck, which is also the world's largest maker of liquid crystals for flat-panel displays, is buying Sigma-Aldrich , putting it on track to become the world's second-largest lab supplies maker after Thermo Fisher .
Before joining Merck KGaA in 2011, German-born Oschmann was in charge of Merck & Co Inc's emerging markets operations. The two companies share historic roots but are under separate ownership since World War One.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Ludwig Burger and Greg Mahlich)