Novartis welcomes ex-COO as chairman

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Welcome to this week's roundup of hirings and firings throughout the industry. Please send the good word (or the bad) from your shop to Alison Bryant (email | Twitter) and we will feature it here each Friday.

Novartis welcomes ex-COO as chairman

Novartis ($NVS) Chairman Daniel Vasella bowed out of his position, making way for the company's former chief operating officer, Joerg Reinhardt, to step into the job. Reinhardt left his COO post in 2010, after CEO Joe Jimenez beat him in the race to lead the company. And Vasella recommended Jimenez. The executive-level shuffle come alongside a 16% pay cut for Jimenez and a 3% cut for Vasella. The Swiss are set to vote in early March on new rules giving shareholders more power over compensation, and Novartis shareholders themselves have a say-on-pay vote coming. Reinhardt won't step into his new role until Aug. 1, when his contract with Bayer expires. He'll stop "active" work at Bayer at the end of February and stand for election as nonexecutive chairman at the Novartis annual meeting around the same time. Story

   
   Joerg Reinhardt--Novartis
   Reinhardt will serve as chairman.


Robert Forrester--Verastem
Forrester will serve as president.

Biotech

> Verastem ($VSTM) bumped up COO Robert Forrester to serve as president. Forrester will continue to man the COO post, too. Forrester has been the CEO, COO and CFO of both private and public biotech companies. Release

Bassam Damaj is the new president and CEO of Innovus Pharma, as well as a member of the board of directors. Damaj, who was previously president and CEO of Apricus Biosciences ($APRI), replaces Vivian Liu, who resigned. Release

Edge Therapeutics appointed Isaac Blech as the vice chairman of its board of directors and Sol J. Barer as chairman. Blech is a biotech entrepreneur and investor, while Barer was the longtime president, COO and CEO of Celgene ($CELG) before retiring in 2011. Release

Anti-inflammatory drug developer Morria Biopharmaceuticals bumped up Alan Harris to the position of chief medical officer. Initially working part time for Morria, Harris will now develop and lead the company's clinical development programs for specific drugs. Release

TNI BioTech out of Bethesda, MD, brought on Peter Aronstam as its chief financial officer. Aronstam takes over for Christopher Pearce, who will be the company's new chief operating officer. Release

Stephen R. Biggar joins Acadia Pharmaceuticals ($ACAD) as a member of the company's board of directors and a Class II director. Acadia specializes in neurological and related central nervous system disorders. Release

Novozymes' board of directors has selected Peder Holk Nielsen as president and CEO, effective in April. Nielsen will replace Steen Riisgaard, who is stepping down after 12 years as a CEO and 33 years at Novozymes and Novo Industri/Novo Nordisk. Story

Reiner Laus, executive vice president and division president of cancer vaccines at Bavarian Nordic, has left his position effective Jan. 21. Release

Rexahn Pharmaceuticals ($RNN) has appointed Peter D. Suzdak as its new CEO. He succeeds Chang Ahn, who will move into the role of chief scientist and will remain chairman of the board. Release

Parexel International ($PRXL) has selected Xavier Flinois to succeed Steve Kent as president of Perceptive Informatics, Parexel's technology division. Release

> Probiodrug announced the appointment of a U.S.-based chief medical officer, Ronald Black, and a Germany-based chief development officer, Inge Lues. Black was formerly assistant vice president of Alzheimer's immunotherapy at Pfizer ($PFE) and Lues has acted as a research and development adviser to venture capital and biotech companies. Release

> Mersana Therapeutics brought on Peter Park and Wayne Foster to its senior management team. Park will serve as vice president of biology and Foster will become the vice president of finance. Release

Pharma

> Celgene appointed Sarah Bater as its new director of human resources at the company's U.K. and Ireland businesses. Bater previously worked at AstraZeneca ($AZN). Story