Novartis changes Sandoz leadership

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Novartis changes Sandoz leadership

By Sandra Levy - 03/14/2019
Novartis announced today that Richard Francis will be stepping down as CEO of its Sandoz division and as a member of the Novartis executive committee effective March 31.

Francesco Balestrieri, currently head of Sandoz's Europe region, has been appointed Sandoz's interim CEO. He will report to Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan.

"I would like to thank Richard for his strong leadership of Sandoz over the past five years. During his tenure, Sandoz has consolidated its position as a global leader in biosimilars, and he and his team have successfully navigated the business through changing market dynamics and challenging headwinds in the U.S. Now, as we initiate a multiyear transformation program for the business and move to make it more autonomous, Richard has decided that, for personal reasons, he cannot commit to stay with Sandoz until the transformation is completed. I understand his decision and wish him the very best for the future," Narasimhan said.

"The past five years have been immensely satisfying and rewarding. I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team. Together, we have expanded access to medicines across the world and reached many millions of patients. In particular, we have successfully launched five biosimilar products," Francis said. "As we announced earlier this year, Sandoz is embarking on a significant transformation. While I am excited by this, I realize that this is a multiyear journey, which I cannot commit to and therefore have decided that now is the right time to step down," Francis said.

Balestrieri, who has been with Novartis for 25 years, has spent the last eight years running commercial operations in generics, most recently as region head Sandoz Europe, which represents half of the Sandoz' global sales and organization. Prior to Sandoz, he held various leadership positions at Ciba Vision, including as head of Ciba Vision U.S. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Venice.

"I would like to thank Francesco for stepping up to take on this role. His leadership approach and business experience will be of great importance as we continue the Sandoz transformation," Narasimhan said.