The president of Novartis Oncology - Hervé Hoppenot - has decided to move on to a new position outside the company after three years in the role.
Hoppenot has spent more than 10 years at Novartis, joining the firm in 2003 as head of global marketing, and previously held roles at Aventis and Rhone-Poulenc.
He is leaving Novartis "with immediate effect," according to the company, and will take up the role of president and chief executive of Incyte, which has worked closely with Novartis for many years on the development of cancer drugs including ruxolitinib, the active ingredient in Novartis' JAK inhibitor Jakavi.
During his time at the helm of Novartis' cancer division Hoppenot presided over the launch of two new cancer therapies, Jakavi for myelofibrosis in 2011 and Signifor (pasireotide) for Cushing's disease in 2012, while rolling out new indications for older drugs such as Afinitor (everolimus) and leukaemia therapy Tasigna (nilotinib).
Towards the end of last year Hoppenot said Novartis Oncology had six products that would drive buoyant sales growth over the next five years, helping it maintain growth through a period that could see the loss of patent protection on $4.7bn cancer blockbuster Glivec (imatinib).
Oncology is one of the most important franchises for the Switzerland-based pharma giant, accounting for $8.29bn out of Novartis' total pharmaceutical revenue of $23.9bn in the first nine months of 2013, a little over a third of turnover.
Novartis said that Alessandro Riva, who serves as global head of oncology development and medical affairs, will take on the role of president on an interim basis until a permanent successor is identified.
Prior to his role as president, Hoppenot served as chief commercial officer and head of global product strategy and scientific development.
In a statement, Novartis said it thanked Hoppenot "for his dedication and commitment to bringing breakthrough treatments to patients."