Two recent events have led to a veritable domino effect in the managerial level immediately below top group management in Novo Nordisk.
Martin Soeters is no longer head of Novo Nordisk’s European division, and Ron Christie is no longer in charge of the all-important Chinese division. Both of these highly experienced directors have chosen to retire, and the two empty chairs have led to an extensive managerial reshuffle in the Danish diabetes giant.
“Seeing as we, as far as possible, prefer to fill positions like these with skilled internal candidates, any new appointment or retirement will leave a gap, leading to a domino effect around the organisation,” head of Corporate Communications, Mike Rulis, tells Medwatch about the reshuffling, which took place over the summer.
It means that Jesper Høiland is no longer in charge of what he himself has called the youth department of Novo Nordisk; International Operations. The former head of all markets outside of Europe, North America, China and Japan has become the new head of Novo Nordisk’s North American business.
“Jesper Høiland is one of our most seasoned people around the world. He has been in charge of what some would call our most complex region, i.e. International Operations, which includes more than 150 countries from all continents. Jesper has proved very adept at leading and ensuring growth. When you are able to run a region like IO, there is no doubt that you have what it takes to be in charge of a region like North America, where the US is the by far largest business area for Novo Nordisk,” Mike Rulis explains, adding:
“There might be just two countries in Jesper’s new region, but the US alone is so complex, with so many payers and structures, that Jesper will get the chance to use his experience of leading under complex conditions.”
East and West
The now former chief for Novo in North America, Jerzy Gruhn, has moved across the Atlantic and has been appointed head of Novo Nordisk’s European division. Jerzy Gruhn is of Polish descent, so the stage is set for a homecoming.
“Before he went to the US, he headed our Eastern European division where he gained experience with the business environment that has since come to characterize the Western and Southern European countries as well, that is, a very sharp focus on reducing drug prices and limit reimbursements for medicine. That baggage could turn out to be a huge advantage for him,” says Mike Rulis, who rebuts the notion that Jerzy Gruhn’s move across the Atlantic should be seen as a demotion.
“Not at all. The European market is a huge task. I think anyone operating on the European drug market today would agree with that.”
Meanwhile, Maziar Mike Doustdar, who previously headed one of the regions under International Operations, moves up the corporate ladder, as he takes over the empty chair left by Jesper Høiland at the head of the table for International Operations.
Finally, Christian Kanstrup goes from being head of Finance and IT in Japan to becoming the new chief of Novo Nordisk in China.
- translated by Martin Havtorn Petersen
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