Breaking news: Novartis’s Vasella renounces CHF72m pay deal

BASEL, SWITZERLAND – Daniel Vasella, chairman of the board of Novartis who will step down at the annual general meeting Friday 22 February, will not receive a CHF72 million no-competition payment, when he steps down. The company has indicated that by mutual agreement, his contract will end after the AGM, ending all additional payment clauses. Ulrich Lehner, vice-chairman of the board, will act as interim chairman until August 2013.

The company  has been under huge pressure from activist investor groups as well as Swiss politicians since it announced Vasella’s retirement and golden handshake 10 days ago. The Swiss will vote 3 March on limiting executives and board members’ pay and Novartis’s announcement was widely seen in Switzerland as provocative, but it has also been receiving wide attention from international media.

Details to follow.