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Novo Nordisk's Head of North America resigns

Published on 01/03/17 at 09:38am

Novo Nordisk has announced the surprising news that its Executive Vice President, Head of North American Operations Jakob Riis has resigned from the company, and will be replaced by current Senior Vice President for Market Access Doug Langa, effective 1 March.

Riis stepped into the role in just September last year, promoted when the company announced the retirement of ex-CEO Lars Rebien Sørensen. Sørensen was succeeded by Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, whom Langa will now report to, while Riis remains at Novo Nordisk during the transition period.

Riis joined the company in 1996, but would have encountered rising pressure after Novo published a lower-than-expected 2017 sales and profit growth forecast last month. His sudden departure from the role after such a short period could have sizeable implications on investor faith and the firm’s performance in its biggest market, accounting for more than half of its sales.

Langa started his tenure with Novo Nordisk in 2011, moving from previous careers at GlaxoSmithKline and earlier at Johnson & Johnson. In total, he has amassed over 25 years of experience in the industry.

"We are of course sad to see Jakob Riis leave. He has done a great job throughout his career in Novo Nordisk, and we wish him all the best,” remarked Göran Ando, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “We welcome Doug Langa as our new head of North America Operations. Doug's experience in the US pharmaceutical market, his leadership skills and expertise in the area of market access make him the natural successor to Jakob Riis."

Matt Fellows

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