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Novartis CEO Narasimhan remakes drugmaker's leadership as Wyss exits

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis’s new Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan is remaking the Swiss drugmaker’s leadership as operations president Andre Wyss exits and three others including a digital specialist and the company’s top lawyer get executive committee seats.

Wyss, who was also Novartis’s Swiss unit head, had been at Novartis since 1984 and was responsible for streamlining production and corporate services. Narasimhan said in a statement on Monday that Wyss will be available to ensure a “proper handover”.

Additionally, Novartis elevated three people to its executive committee: Steffen Lang, global head of technical operations; chief ethics officer Shannon Klinger; and chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson, a retail expert hired last year to improve use of data in drug discovery and development. [nL8N1LA1DU]

Narasimhan, who took over as CEO in February, is emphasising the role of digital technology in helping Novartis come up with winning new therapies.

Last week, he announced plans to use a partner’s mobile phone-based apps to create up to 10 drug trials, to reduce costs and speed recruitment of patients.

The elevation of Klinger, who has been chief ethics and compliance officer as well as head of litigation, comes as Novartis aims to bolster its reputation after a string of costly settlements and investigations over alleged bribery, including an ongoing probe in Greece.

Editing by Michael Shields