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Boss Applies Fit Lifestyle Lessons to Head Novartis AG (NVS), to Continue Prospects in China


7/15/2013 7:58:39 AM

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CEO likens sport discipline to rigor of global business. As a former competitive swimmer, the dedication Joseph Jimenez had to display on a daily basis helps in his current position as chief executive officer of pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG. "Being a competitive swimmer, you are taught the discipline of working hard, then training for the big event, achieving a result and then celebrating once you win," he said. "That's very close to what we do at Novartis. We work very hard toward a goal. We set the objective then we deliver it. And then we try to celebrate - but only for a short time - until we set the next goal." In addition, strong mettle, courage and consistency are characteristics required in both top-level swimming and business. Upon joining Novartis in 2007 as division head of the consumer health unit - the over-the-counter drugs business - Jimenez had no scientific or pharmaceutical background but did possess rich experience in the consumer goods industry and business degrees from Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. He discovered a fellow employee with a science background who was good at communicating clearly on the topic of complicated pharmaceuticals and invited him to his office on many early mornings to go over in detail every drug that Switzerland-based Novartis produced: the biology of the disease each one treated and the mechanism through which they worked, just like morning training in the world of sports.

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