April 24, 2013 / 5:20 AM / 6 years ago

Novartis names Harry Kirsch new CFO

ZURICH, April 24 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis named Harry Kirsch as new Chief Financial Officer to help improve productivity as the Basel-based drugmaker looks to grow beyond a wave of patent expiries.

Novartis said 48-year-old Kirsch, who joined the drugmaker ten years ago having served as CFO at Proctor & Gamble’s pharmaceutical business, would replace Jon Symonds as group CFO.

Symonds, who has acted as CFO for the past four years, has decided to step back, Novartis said.

Novartis expects 2013 to be a year of transition as it bears the full brunt of last year’s patent loss on high blood pressure pill Diovan. It is counting on sales of new products, like cancer drug Afinitor to fill the gap.

Core earnings per share rose 6 percent to $1.32, compared to the average estimate of $1.30 in a Reuters poll of analysts.

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