Saunders is no stranger to the firm; he has been a member of its board since August 2011, and currently serves on two of its committees, compensation and compliance.
Saunders replaces Howard Solomon, who is also the company's chairman. Solomon, who joined Forest in 1964, has been CEO since 1977. After vacating the CEO post, Solomon will remain chairman through the firm's annual meeting next year. Saunders is expected to replace him at that point.
Forest Labs' incoming chief executive was most recently CEO of Bausch + Lomb, stepping down in the wake of that company's $8.7 billion acquisition by Valeant Pharmaceuticals this past May. He also held executive positions at Schering-Plough, now a part of Merck (NYSE: MRK ) , and was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.