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Lufthansa CEO nominated Roche chairman

Christoph Franz to succeed Franz Humer in 2014

Christoph Franz, RocheChristoph Franz has been nominated to succeed Franz Humer as the chairman of Roche at the company's next annual general meeting next March.

The appointment still needs to be ratified by shareholders at the AGM, but Franz is a familiar figure for investors having served on the board of Roche as a non-executive director since 2011. Humer has been chairman at Roche for 10 years, but indicated at the last AGM that he would not be standing for re-election.

Franz has said he will not renew his contract as chief executive of German airline Lufthansa - a position he has held since 2011 - in order to take up the post at Roche. His contract at the airline is due to run until May 2014.

The announcement comes at a time of great change for the Swiss drug sector, coming shortly after Daniel Vasella handed the chairmanship of Novartis over to Joerg Reinhardt.

"Roche is getting a chairman with outstanding personal qualities and an impressive record as head of a major global company," said Humer.

"I am sure that his extensive experience, exceptional global network and strong links to Switzerland will be great assets," he added.

As a German speaker with family resident in Switzerland Franz has the right cultural profile to win the support of the Hoffmann and Oeri families, the descendants of company founder Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche who are the most significant shareholders, with a 50.01 per cent collective stake in the company.

Questions may however be raised about the depth of his pharma industry experience, said analysts. Franz' hands-on management experience has come exclusively in the transport sector since 1990, with positions at Lufthansa, Deutsche Bahn and Swiss International Air Lines on his CV.

Commenting on his nomination, Franz said: "Roche is an outstanding company. As a board member I have had ample opportunity to get to know and admire its strong business performance and corporate culture."

Article by
Phil Taylor

16th September 2013

From: Sales

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