Ex-Hospira CEO Michael Ball to run Novartis' Alcon

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Eric Sagonowsky (email) or Amirah Al Idrus (email | Twitter), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Ex-Hospira CEO Michael Ball to run Novartis' Alcon

Michael Ball was named CEO.

After sealing the $15 billion sale to Pfizer ($PFE) last year as Hospira's CEO, pharma exec Michael Ball is back in the fray, this time looking to turn things around for Novartis' ($NVS) troubled Alcon unit. Ball, who netted $90 million through the Hospira sale, takes over as Alcon's lagging sales drag down Novartis' numbers; he'll set out to engineer a turnaround similar to Hospira's before its sale. In announcing the moves, Novartis said it'll transfer most of Alcon's prescription eye drugs to the pharma division, leaving Ball to focus on "core surgical and vision care business." Alcon's former CEO, Jeff George, is out, while Novartis R&D chief Vas Narasimhan will assume the position of global head of drug development and chief medical officer. Current head of Novartis business services and president in Switzerland, Andre Wyss, becomes president of operations. Story | Release

Gilead's Martin steps down as CEO, will chair board of directors

John Martin stepped down from CEO position.

John Martin, who has led Gilead Sciences through two decades of incredible growth and more recently significant controversy over the pricing of its hep C cures, is stepping up and out of the CEO role. President John Milligan has been named CEO as Martin moves up to the executive chairman of the board. The switchover becomes effective March 16. Gilead ($GILD), in its four-paragraph announcement, gave no explanation for the decision. Martin, 64, has been CEO of the Foster City, CA, company since 1996 and chairman of the board since 2008. Milligan, 54, who joined Gilead in 1990 with Martin, has been president since 2008. Story | Release

Industry vet Gary Zieziula named EMD Serono president and managing director

EMD Serono
Gary Zieziula was named president and managing director.

Merck KGaA's North American biopharma unit EMD Serono announced that it has appointed Gary Zieziula to the position of president and managing director. Zieziula, who brings more than 30 years of experience to the job, will be responsible for managing strategic direction and growth. He joined EMD Serono in 2014 as chief commercial officer and has served in previous senior-level positions at Merck ($MRK), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), Roche ($RHHBY) and AMAG Pharmaceuticals ($AMAG). "As we look to grow our biopharma business in North America, including our progress in oncology and immuno-oncology, Gary's vision, experience and customer-centric approach are critical to lead the company forward," Merck KGaA Healthcare COO Simon Sturge said in a statement. Release

Antares Pharma CEO transition: Hobbs out, Apple in

Antares Pharma
Robert Apple was named CEO.

Antares Pharma ($ATRS) named Robert Apple as its next CEO this week, succeeding Eamonn Hobbs, who has split ways with the company and stepped down from the board of directors. Apple joined Antares in February 2006 as senior vice president and CFO and has served as COO and executive vice president since September 2014. In a statement, Apple said Antares is "poised to deliver on several catalysts over the next 12 months including the midyear launch of the sumatriptan auto injector, the filing of the QuickShot testosterone new drug application with the U.S. FDA, a potential approval and launch of the epinephrine auto injector and growth in our alliance business through additional collaborations." A certified public accountant, Apple's prior experience includes positions at InKline Pharmaceutical and Arthur Anderson. Release

Eli Lilly is closing two animal health manufacturing plants it picked up from Novartis. Story

Nephron is laying off 250 employees in Orlando between March 18 and April 1. Story

TetraLogic laid off 19 staffers. Filing


> American Gene Technologies named Dr. Stuart Baker to its board of directors. Release

> Heron Therapeutics ($HRTX) appointed Kimberly Manhard as executive vice president of drug development. Release

> Vito Palombella joined Surface Oncology as chief scientific officer. Release

> MetaCure appointed Adrian Gilmore as CEO and Dr. Mateusz Zelewski as president and chief operating officer. Release

> Tarveda Therapeutics appointed Dr. Leila Alland as chief medical officer. Release

> Astrix Technology brought on Dale Curtis as president. Release

> Dr. Patrick Kupelian joined Varian Medical Systems as vice president of clinical affairs. Release

> DBV Tech hired Edward Jordan as its senior vice president of commercial operations in North America. Release

> Phico Therapeutics appointed Nicki Thompson as its chief business officer. Release

> David Theil joined Noxilizer as senior vice president and CFO. Release

> Avacta Group appointed Philippe Cotrel as its chief commercial officer. Release

> Vertice Pharma brought on Indranil Nandi as its vice president of R&D. Release

> Agilis Biotherapeutics named Dr. Christopher Silber its chief medical officer. Release

> Clovis Oncology ($CLVS) appointed Dale Hooks as its chief commercial officer. Release

> Dr. James Owen joined Acadia Pharmaceuticals as its senior vice president of clinical development and chief medical officer. Release

> Actinium Pharmaceuticals ($ATNM) appointed Rowena Choudrie as senior director of pharmaceutical product development and Kevin Zikaras as senior clinical scientist. Release

Med tech

> TSO3 appointed Harold Tessman as chief operating officer. Release

> Convergent Dental named David Garabedian as vice president of marketing. Release

> Royal Philips ($PHG) has named Jean Botti as chief innovation and strategy officer. Story | Release


> ClinTec appointed Dr. Robert Reekie as chief operating officer and senior executive vice president. Release