Bayer picks ex-Novartis exec to lead healthcare division

Yet another drug company has a CEO-in-waiting--and it's a man who wanted to be CEO elsewhere. Bayer has tapped Jörg Reinhardt (pictured) as chief of its Bayer HealthCare unit, a move that wraps up a big management overhaul at the German company. Reinhardt left Novartis earlier this year after the company picked Joe Jiminez to replace Daniel Vasella as president and chief executive.

Reinhardt, 54, spent 28 years at Novartis, where he helped build up the company's vaccines business. Now he'll have charge of more than half of Bayer's total revenue. "With his Novartis background and experience, obviously he's a perfect choice, in particular if Bayer wants to continue to expand its drugs business," Rahn & Bodmer Banquiers analyst Birgit Kulhoff told Bloomberg.

Bayer's management reshuffle started as Marijn Dekkers was chosen to replace Werner Wenning as CEO on Oct. 1. The current Bayer HealthCare CEO, Arthur Higgins, is leaving the company April 30.

Bayer depends heavily on its healthcare unit, Bloomberg points out; some 80 percent of its fourth-quarter earnings came from that business. Wenning has said that the company is looking for acquisitions for in healthcare, including animal health. "Dr. Reinhardt is an acknowledged expert with many years of experience in the health care industry," Wenning says in a statement. "We are convinced of his ability to provide a decisive impetus to our global HealthCare business and further expand our strong competitive positions."

- get the release from Bayer
- see the Bloomberg news