After ousting former CEO, Novo A/S puts Kutay in charge of $57B investment vehicle

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Novo A/S has named Kasim Kutay as its CEO four months after parting company with former leader Eivind Kolding. The appointment puts Kutay, a healthcare banking veteran, in charge of an investment vehicle that lists a 27% stake in Novo Nordisk ($NVO) among its DKK 377 billion ($57 billion) portfolio of assets.

Kutay will join Novo A/S on September 1 from Moelis & Company, the investment bank at which he has spent the past seven years. Prior to his stint at Moelis, Kutay spent 18 years at Morgan Stanley, rising to the post of chairman of its European healthcare group. During that period, Kutay had his first interaction with Novo A/S, marking the start of a relationship that has now culminated in him taking responsibility for the investment group.

“I began my interactions with Novo A/S very soon after it was founded when I was invited to present to its board of directors on strategic trends in the pharmaceutical sector,” Kutay said in a statement. “Ever since then, I have maintained a close relationship with Novo A/S and I have advised the company on both acquisitions and disposals.”

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Kutay will now take ultimate responsibility for such acquisition and disposal decisions, an authority that rested with Kolding until February. Kolding officially resigned, but in a release to reveal his departure Novo A/S said the move was motivated by the board’s desire to appoint a CEO with a “different profile.”

The most obvious differences in the profiles of the former and future CEOs are their levels of experience in healthcare and banking. Kolding spent most of his career at Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller–Maersk Group, culminating in him spending five years at the helm of its global container division. In 2012, Kolding left to take the top job at Danske Bank, but lasted less than two years. Danske fired Kolding so it could appoint a leader with more banking experience.

Kolding’s stint in charge of Novo A/S was similarly short-lived. In appointing Kutay, Novo A/S has gained a leader with more experience in banking and life sciences, an industry that is the primary focus of his new employer. Novo A/S holds sizable stakes in Novo Nordisk and its two spinouts, Novozymes (CPH:NZYM-B) and NNIT (CPH:NNIT). The group also manages a portfolio of other large investments, including pieces of BTG (LON:BTG), Symphogen and Veloxis Pharmaceuticals (CPH:VELO).

These activities are complemented by a venture unit--which has pumped around $1.2 billion into more than 120 companies--and a seed fund. Flexion Therapeutics ($FLXN) and Xenon Pharmaceuticals ($XENE) sit in the venture fund’s portfolio, while the seed unit lists French gene therapy upstart Lysogene among its investments.

- read the statement


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