March 11, 2013 6:06 pm

Ex-Novartis chief Vasella to move to US

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Daniel Vasella is preparing to move to the US, home to some of the world’s largest pharmaceuticals companies, just weeks after stepping down as chairman of the Swiss pharma giant Novartis.

Mr Vasella announced on January 23 that he would leave the Swiss group after the company’s annual general meeting in February, and in the following week he deregistered with local authorities in Risch, the municipality in the canton of Zug where he has lived for more than a decade, switching his residence to the US instead.

Under the terms of an exit agreement negotiated with Novartis at the time, Mr Vasella, who led the company for 17 years having helped create it through the merger of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy in 1996, would have stood to receive SFr72m ($76m) if he did not work for any of Novartis’s rivals for a period of six years.

However, after news of the agreement leaked out last month, touching off a public and political storm in Switzerland, Mr Vasella decided on February 19 to forgo the pay-off, meaning that that he is no longer prevented from working for other pharmaceuticals companies.

Mr Vasella has longstanding connections with the US, having worked at Sandoz’s American arm in the years before the merger with Ciba-Geigy. He also completed an executive training course at Harvard Business School, and last year joined the board of American Express.

Novartis declined to comment on Mr Vasella’s move, saying that it was a private matter.

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