(Reuters) – Bayer CEO Werner Baumann's contract has been extended to 2024, in a show of support from the drugmaker's new chairman just months after the company agreed to a $ 11 billion deal in its US Roundup herbicide lawsuit.  In a statement late Thursday, Bayer also said it was making progress in finalizing the ruling that Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides cause cancer, which Bayer inherited as part of a $ 63 billion acquisition of Monsanto.
A judge in July raised concerns about an agreement with the plaintiff's lawyers on how to handle a class of claims that may come in the future, which will cast doubt on the overall settlement agreement.
"The details of the revised class plan will be completed in the coming weeks, and an application for preliminary approval will be submitted (to the court) once the formal agreement is completed," Bayer said.
Just a few weeks after becoming CEO in 201
He had the full support of then-chairman Werner Wenning, who retired in April this year and was succeeded by Norbert Winkeljohann, a former head of six European countries at the auditing and consulting firm PwC.
Shareholders denied Bayer's top management a largely symbolic trust at the 2019 AGM after the legal problems, but Baumann and his team won the investor vote in this year's iteration.
Ingo Speich, head of sustainability and corporate governance at the fund company Deka Investment, is still critical.
"The timing of the contract extension is surprising because no significant legal dispute has actually been resolved," he told the Rheinische Post newspaper.
Mr. Baumann's new three-year contract begins in April 2021. The 57-year-old said he could have had up to four more years but opted for a shorter contract to "meet my personal plans."
Mr. Winkeljohann said he expected the "glyphosate disputes to be handled in a way that is satisfactory to the company, is financially sensible and is structured in a way that makes it possible to resolve potential future cases effectively."
Bayer shares rose 1.3% at 1250 GMT in hopes of a final settlement of the legal dispute.
The arrangement in future cases is unsurpassed as glyphosate will remain on the market without cancer warning, with the support of the US Pesticides Agency.