Novartis' generics chief quits

The chief executive of Novartis' generic drug business Sandoz abruptly stepped down, according to Reuters.

Richard Francis, who has run Sandoz for the last five years, decided to leave for "personal reasons" as the generic unit works through an 18-month revamp.

Mr. Francis' departure will revive speculation that Novartis is preparing to spin off the struggling generics unit.

Francesco Balestrieri, head of Sandoz' Europe region, will become interim CEO of Sandoz. The generics unit is working to refocus on biosimilars and hard-to-make generics like insulin.

Last year, Sandoz sold some of its assets, including a dermatology portfolio, to Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals.

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