(Adds background, board comment)
ZURICH, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Lonza Chief Executive Marc Funk is leaving the Swiss chemicals company after less a year in the job, it said on Tuesday, citing personal reasons.
Funk, who has held his post since March, will be replaced by Chairman Albert Baehny on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found. Funk will stay with the company until January 2020, Lonza said.
Before becoming CEO, Funk was head of Lonza's Pharma & Biotech segment where he expanded capacity and was responsible for innovation in biopharma manufacturing.
Lonza reported a steep fall in first-half profit as it took losses linked to the sale of its water business and as difficulties at its speciality ingredients business continued.
The Basel-based company, whose products include viruses for gene therapies, on Tuesday said board member Christoph Maeder has been appointed lead independent director by the board.
"The board respects Marc's decision and would like to thank him for his service to Lonza and wish him well for his future endeavours," said Maeder, adding a search for a new CEO was under way. (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)