Novartis dismisses senior staffers for misconduct

When CEO Joe Jimenez (photo) went on an international tour of Novartis facilities, he ran across some behavior he didn't like. So, the company has fired several managers for ethical misconduct--and held up those firings as an example to other employees in an internal memo. First reported by Pharmalot, the memo from Jimenez warns, "We simply won't tolerate behavior that is inconsistent with our values and societal norms."

The company has confirmed the firings, but won't say how many managers were involved or cite the specific misconduct. "We do not comment on the specifics of disciplinary actions related to current or former employees," a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

Jimenez said in the memo that he discovered during site visits that some senior staff had not conformed to Novartis' internal code of conduct. "[W]e won't tolerate misconduct and sometimes have to terminate those who breach our well-known rules," he said.

As Pharmalot reports, Jimenez also said that, after reviewing the cases, Novartis security chief Andrew Jackson concluded that the problems didn't arise because staffers didn't understand how they were expected to behave, but because those staffers made "poor choices." Chief Compliance Officer Peter Kornicker will now take on a misconduct-prevention effort, the memo said, that will include training for managers to help them "identify and intervene in situations before they become code violations." 

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