Baxter International ( BAX) said Monday that its board chose Robert L. Parkinson Jr. as its new chairman and chief executive.

Parkinson, who joins Baxter on April 26, has been the dean of Loyola University's School of Business Administration and its Graduate School of Business in Chicago since 2002. Parkinson will replace Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr., who announced Jan. 26 that he would resign. Kraemer remained with Baxter while the executive search proceeded.

Parkinson, 53 years old, spent 25 years at Abbott Laboratories ( ABT), rising in 1999 to president and chief operating officer before taking the Loyola position. He was among several candidates rumored to be in the Baxter CEO sweepstakes. James Tobin, CEO of Boston Scientific ( BSX) and a former Baxter executive, last week dismissed any notion that he might return to Baxter. He worked at Baxter from 1972 to 1994, holding many jobs including chief operating officer.

The announcement of Parkinson's hiring came three days before Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter is scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings report. Many analysts handicapping the first quarter had said that the uncertainty over a new CEO would occupy much of the earnings announcement. They said there would be some question about Baxter's strategic direction until the new boss had sufficient time to evaluate the company's prospects.

That uncertainty has been reflected in the company's stock price ever since Kraemer announced his resignation after the markets closed on Jan. 26, as the stock went as low as $27.10 in the following week. On Monday, Baxter's stock closed at $31.72.

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