FACTBOX-Five facts about Roche's new drugs head

ZURICH, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Roche Holding AG ROG.VX named Pascal Soriot to head its drugs operations, by far its largest business, replacing veteran William Burns who retires at the end of the year. [ID:nL8131631]

Here are five facts about the new chief operating officer of Roche’s pharmaceuticals unit, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of group sales of 45.6 billion Swiss francs ($43.14 billion):

* Born in 1959, Soriot has French nationality.

* He trained as a veterinary surgeon in France before taking an MBA with a major in finance in Paris and started his career in the pharmaceuticals industry with Roussel.

* Became chief operating officer of Aventis' U.S. operations in 2002, before it became part of Sanofi-Aventis SASY.PA.

* Joined Roche in 2006 as head of strategic marketing.

* He is currently CEO of Genentech and has been co-leading, with former Genentech chief Arthur Levinson, the integration team which is designing the future set-up of the combined company. ($1=1.057 Swiss Franc) (Reporting by Sam Cage; editing by Simon Jessop)