Novartis reported today that Daniel Vasella, M.D., is stepping down as chairman and leaving the company. Jörg Reinhardt, Ph.D., former CEO of Bayer Healthcare, will be the new chairman beginning August 1.

Novartis also released fourth-quarter net sales of $14.8 billion and full-year net sales of $56.7 billion.

“Novartis maintained strong momentum in innovation in 2012, securing 17 major approvals and significantly advancing promising pipeline projects. Our pipeline is expected to deliver a record number of near-term approvals and filings, and with our strong global commercial capacity we anticipate 14 products to reach blockbuster status by 2017, up from 8 in 2012,” noted Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. “I want to thank Daniel Vasella for his leadership and expertise, which guided Novartis to become one the world’s leading healthcare companies.”

“Novartis is solidly on course to navigate the volatility and uncertainties of today’s economic environment,” added Dr. Vasella. “I am confident in the leadership of Joe Jimenez and his top team, the company’s strategy with its commitment to innovation.”

Dr. Vasella served as CEO and executive member of the board of directors for 14 years following the merger that created Novartis in 1996. He was appointed chairman in April 1999. Dr. Vasella had also worked as the CEO of Sandoz Pharma. From 1988 to 1992, he was with Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in the U.S., prior to which he held a number of medical positions in Switzerland. He graduated with an M.D. from the University of Bern in Switzerland and completed executive training at the Harvard Business School in the U.S.

Previous articleStudy: Science Fraud’s a Guy Thing
Next articleAllergan Grows Migraine Portfolio with $958M MAP Purchase