The Swiss company that opened a $1.2 billion flu vaccine plant in Holly Springs last year is getting a new leader.
Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella announced today that he will step down after 14 years running the company and be replaced on Feb. 1 by Joe Jimenez, a 50-year-old American.
"He's the right person at the right time and we have full confidence he'll do a good job and he'll prove it," Vasella told Bloomberg News.
Jimenez worked at consumer-products companies such as Clorox, H.J. Heinz and ConAgra Foods before joining Novartis in 2007. Until his promotion, he has run Novartis' pharmaceuticals division.
Jimenez is a Stanford graduate who competed on the university's swimming team. He has a pool at home and still swims regularly, he told Bloomberg News.
He beat out Joerg Reinhardt, a German scientist who was considered Vasella's likely successor, for the CEO spot. Vasella will remain chairman.
The company expects to begin commercial production of flu vaccines in Holly Springs by 2013, although the facility will be running before then to secure regulatory approval. The plant is expected to employ more than 350 people.
Read the full Bloomberg report here.