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Novartis picks American as new CEO

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.

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