ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis ( NOVN.S ) CEO Joe Jimenez will step down on Feb. 1 and hand over to drug development chief Vas Narasimhan to decide the fate of $50 billion in assets and make good on a pledge to return the Swiss company to sales growth.
Jimenez, who will have been at the helm for eight years when he retires, has hived off animal health, vaccines and over-the-counter Drugs businesses at Novartis to focus on generally more profitable prescription medicines, particularly in cancer.
But sales have been hit as top-selling drugs such as blood cancer treatment Gleevec have lost patent protection, while eye business Alcon has lagged expectations and generics arm Sandoz has faced intense pressure on prices in the United States.
Novartis got a boost last week, when the United States approved its $475,000-per-patient Kymriah treatment for young people with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of a series of new drugs it expects to revive sales growth starting next year.
“The appointment ... brings deep medical and commercial knowledge plus strong communication, and we expect this fresh start to be taken very well by the markets,” said David Evans, a Kepler Cheuvreux analyst.
- Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez Is Stepping DownFortune
- Novartis Calls for the DoctorBloomberg
- Novartis CEO Jimenez to step down early next yearChattanooga Times Free Press
- Novartis CEO Jimenez to Quit, Giving Reins to Harvard DoctorBloomberg
- Novartis names Indian-origin Vasant Narasimhan as new CEOLivemint
- Changing of the guard at Novartis as Jimenez to step downswissinfo.ch
- Indian-origin Vasant Narasimhan to head $48 billion pharma giant NovartisBusiness Standard
- Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis names new CEO to replace outgoing JimenezXinhua
- Novartis CEO to step down in JanuaryMarketWatch