Foreign CEOs to lead Korean units of Novartis, Galderma

Nam Doo-hyun  Published 2018.08.22  13:56  Updated 2018.08.22 13:56


Novartis Korea and Galderma Korea will have new foreign CEOs next month.

Novartis has appointed Joshi Venugopal as the new head of its Korean offshoot, and Galderma, Rene Wipperich, respectively.

Novartis Korea has been under the leadership of acting CEO Klaus Ribbe, who was dispatched from the headquarters in Switzerland in April 2016. The incoming head will also serve as acting CEO, the company said.

Venugopal joined Novartis’ head office in 2006 and has worked as marketing director, head of the drugmaker’s West Indies and Panama branch, head of branches in Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and the Maldives. From 2016, he has served as country president at Novartis Malaysia and Brunei.

After graduating from Mangalore University in India, Venugopal received master’s degree in pharmacology at the University of Strathclyde in the U.K., and doctor’s degree in Philosophy and Cell Biology at Universität Basel in Switzerland.

Venugopal has not started work at the Korean office yet, sources said. Novartis Korea has internally notified employees that the head of Novartis Malaysia would come to Korea as new CEO.

Galderma Korea’s CEO Rene Wipperich is reportedly working at the Korean office.

Wipperich served as global head of commercial operations at Nestle, the holding company of Galderma Korea.

Obtaining bachelor’s degree in international trade and master of business administration, Wipperich joined Nestle in 1999 and worked as country manager of Nestle Malaysia/Singapore and Nestle Indonesia.

Novartis Korea and Galderma Korea have posted poor earnings in the past three years.

Novartis Korea’s revenue fell to 433.4 billion won ($387.3 million) in 2017 from 455.3 billion won in 2015. Its operating profit of 20.6 billion won turned around to a loss of 58.5 billion won during the same period.

Galderma Korea’s sales also slid to 59.5 billion won last year from 66.7 billion won in 2015. Its operating loss exacerbated to 19.3 billion won from 7.3 billion won over the cited period.

Earlier this year, Janssen Korea, GSK Korea, and Boehringer Ingelheim Korea also replaced Korean CEOs with foreigners.

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