Roche Diagnostics taps North American head Sause to be next CEO

Roche has named the next CEO for its diagnostics efforts, as its prior division chief, Thomas Schinecker, is waiting in the wings to head up the Big Pharma overall starting next March. 

Matt Sause is slated to step in as CEO beginning January 1, 2023. Currently head of Roche Diagnostics’ North America region, Sause’s career at the company has spanned about two decades, with shorter stints working for Genentech and Gilead Sciences in between.

He first started at Roche in 2002 as a U.S. senior molecular account manager, before taking on diagnostics and pharma positions in countries including Japan, Ireland, Peru and South Korea. In 2018, he joined Roche’s Genentech to help shepherd Tecentriq's development in lung and head and neck cancers.

After that, he spent a months-long stretch at Gilead Sciences, as head of its global commercial product strategy, before being lured back to the Roche mothership in late 2019 to be the diagnostics company’s North American chief and based out of its Indianapolis headquarters.

“Matt Sause has had an exceptional career with Roche, and I am very pleased that we can once again internally appoint a leader of his caliber to become the next CEO Roche Diagnostics,” the current Roche CEO, Severin Schwan, said in a release. 

Schinecker will take over for Schwan next year, the company announced in July. Schwan, who served as diagnostics CEO from 2006 to 2008 before helming the company overall, will now become chairman of Roche in March 2023, during the company’s annual general meeting.

A 20-year company veteran himself, Schinecker first became CEO of diagnostics in mid-2019, after heading up the company’s centralized and point-of-care screening divisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Roche's testing sales grew 29% to 17.8 billion Swiss francs, or about $19.4 billion, with coronavirus diagnostics accounting for about 25% of the total.

That windfall helped the company recover from declines in other areas as the pandemic took hold and competition from biosimilars dented sales of longtime blockbusters such as Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin.