Vasant Narasimhan to succeed Jimenez at Novartis
Novartis Chief Executive Joseph Jimenez will retire in 2018, with chief drug developer Vasant Narasimhan taking over as CEO starting in February. Jimenez, 58, is stepping down following a decade at Novartis after having successfully secured U S approval for a new gene therapy for leukemia but before Novartis returned to sales growth, which the company has forecast will resume in 2018.
A Novartis employee since 2005, Narasimhan has increased his public presence at Novartis since becoming global head of drug development and chief medical officer in 2016. Just 41, he is among a new generation of youthful leaders at Novartis that include head researcher Jay Bradner at the Novartis Institutes For Biomedical Research who have sought to improve the process in which drugs move from research to actually becoming a commercial product.
Jimenez arrived in 2007 to lead Novartis's consumer health division and rose to CEO in 2010 under former Chairman Daniel Vasella, who left in 2013. Jimenez is handing over the reins at a crucial juncture, with the drugmaker yet to make a decision on the future of its ailing Alcon eye-care business or its stake in crosstown rival Roche Holding AG.