Thomas Aebischer, who grew up on a farm, studied at Harvard Business School and traversed four continents to secure the top finance post at the world’s largest cement maker, Holcim Ltd. On Sunday, Swiss voters will decide if he deserves his salary.
Novartis AG Chairman Daniel Vasella, who spent more than two decades building Europe’s largest drugmaker, said he will step down next month because finding the right successors coincided with a good pipeline for the company and his own timing.
Roche Holding AG’s founding families want the Swiss drugmaker to stay independent, Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan said, squelching speculation that circulated since a board member at crosstown rival Novartis AG said last month a merger could make sense.
Novartis AG’s 72 million Swiss-franc ($78 million) payout to prevent outgoing chairman Daniel Vasella from working for a rival undermines the cause of campaigners fighting to avoid tougher curbs on executive pay in Switzerland.
Novartis AG shareholders, disappointed with the company’s track record on acquisitions, are urging the new chairman to tear up some of the deals Daniel Vasella engineered in almost two decades building Europe’s largest drugmaker.