Novartis announces new CEO of Oncology Business Unit

Susanne Schaffert, Ph.D., President, AAA, an established Novartis executive, named new CEO, Novartis Oncology
Susanne Schaffert, Ph.D., President, AAA, an established Novartis executive, named new CEO, Novartis Oncology

Novartis have appointed Susanne Schaffert, Ph.D., as the new CEO of Novartis Oncology 

Novartis announced that Susanne Schaffert, Ph.D., currently President, Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA), a Novartis company, has been appointed CEO Novartis Oncology. She will report to Vas Narasimhan, CEO, Novartis, and will join the Executive Committee on January 1, 2019. Liz Barrett will be stepping down as CEO of Novartis Oncology effective December 31, 2018.

Susanne Schaffert joined Novartis more than 20 years ago and has spent the last six years in the Oncology business in leadership roles, including Region Head, Novartis Oncology Europe, where she led that organisation through 5 years of sustained growth (excluding Glivec® which lost exclusivity during this period). Earlier this year she was appointed President, AAA, launching Lutathera®, a radioligand therapy for the treatment of certain cancers, in the U.S. and E.U. Also during her tenure in Oncology, she was instrumental in the GSK Oncology integration and served on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Health joint venture between Novartis and GSK until early 2018. In addition, Susanne was Head of Investor Relations, Novartis, from 2010-2013. She transitioned back to Oncology in 2013, and has been a member of the Global Novartis Oncology Leadership Team since then. Prior to 2010, Susanne worked in Sales and Marketing in both the pharmaceuticals and oncology business units. She received her master’s degree and PhD in chemistry from University Erlangen, Germany.

Vas Narasimhan, CEO, Novartis, said: “I would like to thank Liz for her leadership and her contributions to our business and our patients this past year. She made a significant positive impact on the organisation in a relatively short time and I wish her the very best in her future endeavours. As testament to our pipeline of talent, I am delighted that Susanne Schaffert, current president of AAA and a long-time Oncology and Novartis executive, has accepted the role of CEO, Oncology. Susanne is a successful business leader with very deep expertise in Oncology, an unwavering commitment to patients, and a strong track record of inspiring talent and building empowered, high performing organisations. She has our full support and confidence as we continue to invest in both our internal pipeline as well as external assets to strengthen our presence.”

Regarding her appointment, Susanne Schaffert said: “Becoming CEO of Novartis Oncology is a great honour and I am humbled to be given the opportunity to lead one of the top-tier oncology businesses in the world. There is still much work to be done to help people with cancer live longer and better lives and I am excited to re imagine medicine together with my colleagues at Novartis.”

Liz Barrett said: “After much personal reflection, it became clear that my family would be unable to relocate to Basel where the Oncology headquarters is based. Therefore, I decided to accept a new role as CEO of a U.S. based biotech. I want to thank Vas for the opportunity to work at this great company and to everyone in Oncology for their commitment to transforming cancer for patients and their families. I am confident that under Susanne’s leadership, Novartis will continue to expand its impact in Oncology.”


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