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Jørgensen named Novo CEO-in-waiting as Sørensen plans retirement

Sørensen’s sooner-than-expected departure sparks executive team reshuffle
Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk's long-serving chief executive Lars Rebien Sørensen will step down at the end of the year, ending a 34-year career at the Danish pharma company.

Sørensen, who has been CEO at the company since 2000, will be replaced by executive vice president and head of corporate development Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen at the start of next year.

The announcement of Sorensen's retirement comes as something of a surprise as he was expected to stay on until the end of his current employment contract in 2019, and has prompted a reshuffle among the top brass at Novo Nordisk.

Jakob Riis is moving from his position as the head of China, Pacific and marketing to become vice president and head of North America operations, replacing Jesper Høiland who is stepping down.

Meanwhile, Maziar Mike Doustdar's role as head of international operations is expanded to cover all territories apart from North America, and Jerzy Gruhn is stepping down from the executive management group but will remain as head of Europe.

Sørensen is credited with overseeing a phenomenal improvement in the fortunes of Novo Nordisk stemming from a decision to prioritise the company's diabetes portfolio - which contributed to him being named the best-performing CEO in the world by Harvard Business Review last year.

Novo recently overtook Sanofi to become the leader in diabetes, but is facing increasing competition in the market from biosimilar insulin products, as well as downward pressure on pricing that has been particularly evident in the US. Delays to some key new products such as basal insulin product Tresiba (insulin degludec) have also pegged back financial performance.

The company's chairman Göran Ando said that succeeding Sørensen, who "spearheaded Novo Nordisk into a global, very successful and highly respected pharmaceutical company, is a tall order".

Jørgensen was appointed after a rigorous selection process and has a "track record of creating results, driving change and being a role model for the Novo Nordisk way of running a company".

Article by
Phil Taylor

1st September 2016

From: Sales

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