Novartis' new digital chief joins exec committee

Novartis HQ

Novartis’ new CEO Vas Narasimhan has shown his priorities by promoting the company’s digital chief to the executive committee.

New broom and chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson has been appointed to the committee along with global head of technical operations Steffen Lang, and chief of ethics risk and compliance, Shannon Klinger.

A Harvard Business School graduate, Bodson only joined Novartis in January, and has already begun to shape the company’s digital strategy, building a reputation in digital innovation and culture change across companies such as Sainsbury’s, Argos, Amazon and EMI Music.

[caption id="attachment_31103" align="alignnone" width="133"] Bertrand Bodson[/caption]

In a statement Narasimhan said that the changes were in line with his strategy to use digital technology to enhance the company’s portfolio of pharmaceutical products.

Last week Novartis said it is to begin up to 10 new studies with digital health startup Science 37 over the next three years, using digital technology to create a cheaper and more efficient ‘site-less’ trial model.

Narasimhan said: "We are making these changes to harness the full strength of Novartis as we build the leading medicines company, powered by data and digital. 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."

Meanwhile, Andre Wyss, president of Novartis operations, has stepped down from the committee and decided to leave the company.

Novartis Operations will be split into technical operations and business services units, and technical head Lang, who has worked for Novartis since 1994, will report directly to Narasimhan.

Head of corporate affairs Philippe Barrois will lead the business services organisation on an interim basis until a permanent successor is found.

Matthias Leuenberger, Delegate Novartis Switzerland, will assume the role of Country President for Switzerland, left vacant following Wyss’s departure.

Klinger’s role will be expanded to allow for an integrated approach to risk identification and management that is aligned with Novartis’ commitment to high ethical standards.

She joined Novartis in 2011, as general counsel, North America, Sandoz US – the firm’s generics arm. She was then appointed global head legal and general counsel for Sandoz, before assuming her current role of chief ethics and compliance officer and head of litigation.