Operations head Wyss exits Novartis, giving way to new structure and a string of promotions

André Wyss

Novartis $NVS is bidding farewell to a senior Swiss exec, whose departure has triggered some restructuring and several promotions.

André Wyss, currently president of Novartis Operations and country president for Switzerland, has decided to step down on April 1 to “start a new chapter in his career.”

With operations being split into technical operations and business services, his duties will be divided between three people: Matthias Leuenberger takes over the country presidency for Switzerland; Steffen Lang assumes the role of global head, Novartis Technical Operations; corporate affairs head Philippe Barrois leads the business services unit until the company identifies a permanent successor.

In a statement, new CEO Vas Narasimhan gave a tribute to Wyss’ long history with the company:

His journey is unique: he has grown from a chemistry apprentice in manufacturing all the way to the Executive Committee as the President of Novartis Operations and Country President for Switzerland. I want to thank André for his leadership, his loyalty to our company as well as his significant contributions and business impact he had over the past three decades.

Reflecting Narasimhan’s new priorities, Novartis has also expanded Sandoz general counsel Shannon Klinger’s role to chief ethics, risk and compliance officer, and elevated her, technical operations head Lang, and chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson to the executive committee, or ECN.

Bertrand Bodson

Bodson, who joined the Swiss drugmaker (and the pharma industry) in January, is a key figure in the CEO’s vision for Novartis to become a leader in all things digital. In the past two weeks, Novartis has come out with two partnerships in the nascent fields of prescription digital med programs and virtual clinical trials.

“The appointments of Bertrand Bodson, Steffen Lang and Shannon Klinger to the ECN will help us accelerate our efforts to lead in data and digital, increase our focus on operational execution, and reinforce our commitment to return more to society than we take,” Narasimhan said.

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