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Novartis appoints Reinhardt as chief operating officer

Published on 24/10/08 at 04:33pm

Novartis has shaken up its senior management structure with the creation of a new post - chief operating officer.

From 1 December Joerg Reinhardt, head of vaccines and diagnostics, will take up the role.

The move has been seen by analysts as anointing Reinhardt as the eventual successor to longstanding chairman and chief executive Daniel Vasella.

Novartis said the board of directors had also agreed to extend Vasella's contract in his current position.

Meanwhile, head of consumer health Thomas Ebeling, who had once been seen as a possible successor to Vasella, is leaving the company.

Reinhardt is to report to Vasella and will be replaced in his vaccines and diagnostics role by Andrin Oswald, currently head of Speedel and global head of pharmaceutical development franchises.

George Gunn is replacing Ebeling at consumer health and will continue to handle his current role as head of animal health as well.

The news came as Novartis announced third quarter sales up 12% to $10.75 billion. Net profit was up 32% to $2.08 billion.

Sales in the first nine months of 2008 were $31.38 billion (up 12%) while net profit rose 19% to $6.66 billion.

Vasella said: "With a strong new leadership team, Novartis is positioning itself for continued growth and success in a demanding environment."

The company has also raised its full year forecast for drug sales.

Novartis says the 11% increase (to $19.9 billion) in pharma sales in the year to September has been driven by its oncology portfolio as well as blood pressure medicines Exforge and Tekturna/Rasilez.

But US net sales fell 5%, partly because of generic competition to four brands: Lotrel, Lamisil, Trileptal and Famvir.

Sales in vaccines and diagnostics were up 20% to $1.3 billion.

Other management changes taking effect from December include Andreas Rummelt, currently head of Sandoz, taking up the newly-created position of group head of quality assurance and technical operations. Jeff George, head of emerging markets in the pharma division, will replace him.

Meanwhile, head of the pharma division's oncology business David Epstein keeps that role, but will also lead a new unit focusing on innovative molecular diagnostics.

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