Baxter nabs Novartis' Hantson to lead international biz

The mystery of Ludwig Hantson didn't last long. Yesterday, we reported that Hantson was leaving his post as North American pharma chief for an "external opportunity." And now we know that destination: Baxter International.

Hantson has signed on to the U.S.-based company as president of its international operations and corporate VP. He'll move into the new job May 3.

"Geographic expansion continues to be a key growth drive for Baxter," CEO Robert Parksinson, Jr. (photo) says in a statement. "Ludwig brings significant international and scientific knowledge and expertise to ... his new role leading our international business."

In focusing on overseas growth, Baxter is part of an industrywide trend. International sales already account for 60 percent of Baxter's revenues, and on a local-currency basis, overseas growth amounted to 7 percent for 2009. (Including currency effects, sales fell slightly to $7.2 billion.)

Like other drugmakers, Baxter's international sales have shifted toward emerging markets. Although 2009 sales fell in Europe, they grew by more than 11 percent in Asia. We'll have to wait and see how Hantson does.

- check out Baxter's release