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Nov 6 (Reuters) - George Barrett will step down as the chief executive of Cardinal Health Inc after eight years at the helm, the U.S. drug distributor said on Monday, while also reporting lower-than-expected quarterly revenue amid stubbornly low prices for generic drugs.
Shares of the company fell 4 percent on Monday morning to their lowest in four years.
Cardinal Health said its Chief Financial Officer Mike Kaufmann would replace Barrett, starting Jan. 1. Jorge Gomez, the finance chief of the company's medical equipment business, will succeed Kaufmann as Cardinal's CFO.
Cardinal said falling prices for generic drugs dented profits at its main pharmaceutical business that distributes branded and generic drugs.
The pharma business - which contributes to nearly 90 percent to Cardinal's overall sales - made a profit of $467 million in the first quarter ended Sept. 30, down 13 percent from a year ago but coming ahead of analysts' average estimate of $439 million, according to brokerage Leerink Partners.
"Better than expected pharma margins (for Cardinal) and the performance of its peers, who already reported, suggest to us that the macro environment is stabilizing," Cowen & Co analyst Charles Rhyee said.
Last week, Cardinal's peer AmerisourceBergen Corp said it did not expect generic drug prices to slip further next year, although it added it expects prices to dip 7 to 9 percent in the current fiscal year.
Cardinal expects a mid-single digit percentage decline in generic drug prices for the year ending June 2018, the company had said in August.
Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health's net sales rose about 2 percent to $32.64 billion in the first quarter, but fell short of analysts' average estimate of $33.48 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net earnings attributable to the company fell nearly 63 percent to $115 million or 36 cents per share, hurt by more than $100 million in restructuring costs.
Excluding one-time items, Cardinal earned $1.09 per share, beating analysts' forecasts by 9 cents.
Cardinal Health's stock, which has slipped nearly 15 percent this year, was down 2.3 percent at $59.98 in morning trading. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)