Novartis CEO makes surprise exit
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Novartis CEO makes surprise exit

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis has announced the unexpected departure of chief executive Joseph Jimenez. Jimenez has been at the drug-maker’s helm for the past eight years, and has masterminded Novartis’ transformation into a medical juggernaut best known for its cancer-killing oncology treatments. Jimenez had no scientific background prior to his time at Novartis, but his successor could not have a higher scientific pedigree. Chief medical officer and global head of drug development Vasant Narasimhan will take on the role of CEO from February next year.

Novartis’ share price has risen by 15% so far this year


SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Last week, Jimenez and Narasimhan worked together to beat rivals to the punch by winning U.S. regulatory clearance for a $475,000 oncological breakthrough. But Jimenez claims he will not miss the work – after ten years in Switzerland, he is looking forward to taking his family back to Silicon Valley. On a call, Mr. Jimenez said:

“I’ve been CEO for eight years and I’ve been pretty public about the fact that I didn’t think a CEO should stay much longer than that. You come in, you see what you want to change, you change it, and then it’s time to pass it on to a successor.”

Jimenez has reiterated his confidence in Novartis as recently as July – and he is equally confident that Narasimhan will be a safe pair of hands as its chief. The incoming CEO not only has a twelve-year history at Novartis, but previously worked for McKinsey, and has a handful of qualifications that will prove useful in the role. He holds a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, a masters in public policy from the same university’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a BSc in biological sciences from the University of Chicago.

In a statement, chairman Joerg Reinhardt, said: “The Board of Directors is confident that Vas is the right choice to lead Novartis on our expected next growth phase, driving innovation and further strengthening our competitive position.”


Dominion holds Novartis in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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