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CEO of Novartis' Sandoz unit to step down; interim replacement named

Novartis AG said Richard Francis is stepping down as CEO of Sandoz, its generics business, effective March 31.

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Sandoz CEO Richard Francis
Source: Sandoz

Francis, who has held the position since 2014, is also leaving his role as a member of Novartis' executive committee.

Sandoz is undertaking an 18-month turnaround period to shed various operations around the globe and become an autonomous unit within Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis.

"Richard has decided that for personal reasons he cannot commit to stay with Sandoz until the transformation is completed," Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said.

Francesco Balestrieri, Sandoz's region head for Europe, was named ad-interim CEO of the unit. He has been with Novartis for 25 years, the last eight of which he led commercial operations in generics.