VASANT NARASIMHAN Gonzalo Fuentes Reuters

Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Vasant Narasimhan

CEO, Novartis

When Vas Narasimhan became CEO of Novartis, in 2018, he decided to shake up the company. He was 40 and had been with the company for 12 years. His elevation from head of global drug development was an unexpected choice, but was one he felt he wanted to prove was the right decision. He began slashing red tape and empowering people within the organization to make decisions on their own. It’s sped up the way the company works and evolves.

Novartis has “strong end-market growth drivers, significant number of major launches ongoing, a solid portfolio of novel assets and a range of new indications,” Narasimhan told investors at the company’s recent half-year results presentation. There are 15 ongoing product launches, followed by a waitlist of 80 major submissions planned out to 2022, and a further 50 late-stage programs in development.

The company has also been a bold business, completing more than $70 billion in strategic transactions under his helm. The strategy behind Novartis has changed, with Narasimhan wanting to build a world-leading pharmaceuticals company bolstered by data science and advanced therapy platforms.

“Our growth drivers are on track, and the pipeline is delivering with the full range of mid- to late-stage assets,” he says.