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EFPIA gives president role to Novartis chief executive

Published on 10/12/14 at 10:24am
Joe Jimenez image
Joe Jimenez speaking at a pharma conference in November, London

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has named Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez as its new president.

He is to work next to Merck KGaA’s chief executive Dr Stefan Oschmann, along with Marc de Garidel who is the chairman and chief executive of Ipsen – both have been appointed as vice presidents. 

Jimenez who was serving as an EFPIA vice president, was already its president-elect at the time of former president Viehbacher’s resignation on 29 October.

Viehbacher was due to serve until June next year but his early exit means Jimenez steps in ahead of schedule, and has now had his appointment extended until June 2017.

Jimenez says: “I look forward to taking on this important role and to working with my colleagues in the pharmaceutical industry, and with our stakeholders, as we shape the future of innovative medicines in Europe. With the new Commission in office, it is an exciting time as health and life sciences are central to the EU agenda.”   

Richard Bergstrom who is the director general of EFPIA, adds: “Joe Jimenez’s experience in the pharmaceutical industry, both within and beyond EFPIA, will prove of great value as he steps into his role as EFPIA president. His dedication to cross-sector dialogue and collaboration will help EFPIA to take its Health & Growth strategy to the next level.”

Viehbacher was elected to serve as the EFPIA president for two years in June 2013, and replaced the position being held by GSK’s chief executive Andrew Witty at the time. 

It has clearly been a difficult year for Viehbacher who was only recently ejected from his role at Sanofi after the French firm’s board lost patience with his leadership style.

Sanofi says that pending the decision on the appointment of a new chief executive, it has asked Serge Weinberg to fulfil jointly, and on a temporary basis, the functions of chairman (his current role) and chief executive. 

The EFPIA see Jimenez as a safe pair of hands, and speaking on his new appointment he concludes: "My vision is for a prosperous Europe in which all stakeholders are aligned towards improving and rewarding positive patient outcomes. I believe this is the right thing to do for patients, and for the sustainability of our health systems. Importantly, it will also drive sustained R&D investment and jobs in Europe.”

Brett Wells

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