Source: Reuters

Novartis is preparing to make some big changes following a series of events, including its operations chief is leaving, it’s aiming for big things in digital and it needs to tighten its focus on ethics and compliance. 

André Wyss, director of operations, has decided to make a quick exit to “pursue opportunities outside of Novartis,” writes Fierce Biotech. As a result, his job will be divided up. Bertrand Bodson, Novartis’ first chief digital officer, will now appear on the executive committee and report directly to CEO Vas Narasimhan, proving just how important the company sees its ambitions in the digital world. 

Such a move follows the deal, announced at the start of the month with Pear Therapeutics to develop software applications that could go to the FDA for approval and pair up with prescription drugs, partly to help support value-based pricing with payers. Narasimham has expressed that one of his main goals is to use technology to transform the way Novartis does business in every area, ranging from research to commercial. 

Novartis has also managed to secure Shannon Klinger as chief ethics, risk and compliance officer. The move elevates that function, putting Narasimhan’s direct attention onto a problem whose most recent manifestation is a bribery investigation hitting the headlines over in Greece. 

This move comes just one week after shareholders urged the company to act to avoid ongoing problems with compliance. Shareholder rep, Veronika Hendry, explained, “Corruption cannot be allowed to become a tradition.”

Lastly, Wyss will be replaced by three newly appointed executives. Steffan Lang will become the global head of technical operations, reporting to the CEO. The company will then bring on a new chief of Novartis business services, and Philippe Barrois, who now heads up Novartis corporate affairs, will fill in on an interim basis. 

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