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Roche Diagnostics’ chief heads for the exit

No surprise if Diggelmann resurfaces at diagnostics start-up or rival

Roland Diggelmann

The head of Roche's diagnostics division Roland Diggelmann is to leave the company, triggering a series of leadership changes at the Swiss drugmakers.

The unit, which is a leader in the hi-tech equipment to diagnose a range of diseases, represents more than 20% of Roche’s annual sales, and has been focusing on cancer immunotherapy effectiveness tests of late.

Diggleman is bowing out after a 10-year stint at the company, and it will be no surprise if Diggelmann resurfaces at a small diagnostics start-up - 2018 has seen a stream of execs from big pharma companies jumping ship to take CEO or other senior roles at smaller, more agile rivals.

One such example came from Roche/Genentech earlier this month, when its global head of cancer immunotherapy development Dr Dan Chen left to join a biotech start up, IgM Biosciences.

There are no shortage of exciting new diagnostic and digital health firms emerging, but while there is plenty of finance for these ventures, few have leaders experienced in selling to global healthcare systems.

Diggelmann has held many roles during his time with the company, most notably as Head of Asia Pacific, chief operating officer and CEO, a role in which he has held for two years.

He joined Roche Diagnostics from a background in medtech, having held the role of senior vice president, EMEA at medical device firm Zimmer for just over two years.

According to Roche, Diggelmann leaves to “pursue a career outside of the company”, and Roche’s chief exec Severin Schwan added: “I am grateful to Roland for his many valuable contributions during his 10 years at Roche and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Meanwhile, Roche Diagnostics has appointed its Region Head of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Michael Heuer to temporarily take the reins until a permanent successor is found.

Heuer initially joined Boehringer Mannheim before it was acquired by Roche in 1998, and has held various leadership positions in sales, marketing, and product development.

Prior to his current role, Heuer was sub-region head covering Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, Greece and South Africa.

The news is just the latest in a string of senior changes at Roche and other big pharma companies. In March, John Reed, head of Roche's Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), announced his departure, having been with the firm since 2013.

Then in June Sophie Kornowski-Bonnet, head of Roche Partnering announced her exit from the company, with her position filled by James Sabry, current head of partnering for its biotech subsidiary Genentech.

Article by
Gemma Jones

28th August 2018

From: Sales



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