Novartis Appoints President and CEO of Consumer Health Division in North America
Leadership of Gerber, OTC, Medical Nutrition, and Health and Functional
Nutrition Also Named
SUMMIT, N.J., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Novartis announced today the appointment of Alfred A. Piergallini as President and CEO of Novartis Consumer Health (NCH) North America. Piergallini will oversee the U.S. and Canadian operations of four NCH businesses: Gerber Products Company, Novartis Medical Nutrition, Novartis OTC (over-the-counter medicines), and the newly formed Novartis Health and Functional Nutrition business unit. Al Piergallini reports directly to Thomas Ebeling, Global Head of Novartis Consumer Health, and is a member of the worldwide Novartis Consumer Health Executive Committee. Since 1990, Piergallini has been Vice Chairman, President and CEO of Gerber Products Company, a Novartis company. With nearly 30 years of marketing and operating experience, Piergallini specializes in brand building and maximizing customer satisfaction. While with Gerber, he orchestrated the creation of a multi-lingual, 24-hour customer service hotline. The hotline currently receives more than 600,000 calls each year. Under his leadership, the Gerber brand overtook Nike and Coca-Cola as the number one brand in America, based on a consumer loyalty survey of more than 70,000 consumers. Piergallini began his career in 1970 at Procter and Gamble. Following a quick rise into sales management, he moved to Beverage Management, Inc. in 1976. He then joined Sara Lee Corporation in 1979 as vice president and general manager of the Midwest region for Shasta Beverages. In 1983, Piergallini was named President and CEO of Shasta Beverages. He became vice president and general manager of the Friskies Pet Care division of the Carnation Company in 1986 where he was later promoted to senior vice president with additional responsibilities for the Carnation Products and Nutritional Products divisions. Dr. Daniel Vasella, President and CEO of Novartis AG noted, "Al Piergallini is a leader who has the experience and energy to drive business and launch the Division successfully into the 21st Century." Assuming Piergallini's position as President and CEO of Gerber Products Company will be Frank Palantoni, who joined Novartis in late 1998 as Executive Vice President at Gerber. Prior to joining Novartis, Palantoni spent ten years with the Danone Group, where he became General Manager of the New Ventures Group for the Dannon Company North America. He was previously President and CEO of Griffin's Foods Limited in Auckland, New Zealand. Novartis Consumer Health also announced today the appointment of Michael J. Valentino as President & CEO of Novartis Medical Nutrition, North America. Valentino is responsible for overseeing the US and Canadian operations of the Medical Nutrition Sector, including an extensive portfolio of specially formulated enteral foods and formulas. Valentino was previously President, Pharmacia & Upjohn Consumer Healthcare, North America. Valentino's experience in medical and consumer product marketing includes 12 years with Warner Lambert USA, where he was Vice President Corporate Planning, Vice President Worldwide Smoking/Cessation Products and ultimately Vice President Parke Davis NE Business Unit. He held positions in product management and sales for Rx and OTC pharmaceuticals at E.R. Squibb & Sons. His professional affiliations include the role of Co-Chairman of the Non-Prescription Drug Manufacturers' Association (NDMA). He is also on the Board of the Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey and the Alzheimer's Association. In addition, Robert W. Wilson is appointed Vice President of the newly formed Novartis Health and Functional Nutrition Business Unit. The new Unit will leverage existing brand equities by developing food and dietary supplement products that fulfill unmet consumer needs. The business unit will also investigate potential joint ventures, strategic alliances, and acquisitions. Wilson, who joined Novartis in late 1998, had previously been with Johnson & Johnson, where he was Group Product Director for New Market Development, working on cholesterol-lowering nutraceuticals. Prior to that, he spent seven years in various consumer and trade marketing roles with Quaker Oats and H.J. Heinz on the Gatorade, Rice-a-Roni and Weight Watchers brands. His career also included three years in Hospital Sales, Marketing and operations with SmithKline Beecham. Fred Huser will continue as President and CEO of Novartis OTC in North America, a position he has held since the formation of the company in early 1997. Huser, Palantoni, Valentino, and Wilson will all report to Piergallini. Thomas Ebeling, worldwide Head of Novartis Consumer Health and member of the Executive Committee of Novartis stated, "In these essential markets, Al Piergallini, along with Fred Huser, Frank Palantoni, Mike Valentino, and Bob Wilson are a strong management team. I am excited about the growth potential that such a management group brings to our new division." In August 1998, Novartis announced plans to merge the company's self-medication and nutrition businesses, forming the new Consumer Health Division. The first phases of this integration, including the divestiture of Red Line HealthCare and other non-core brands, have already been completed. Moving forward, NCH is further focusing its nutrition businesses on health and science-based nutrition and functional foods. In functional foods, Novartis will focus its efforts in areas such as disorders of the cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems, and osteoporosis. Novartis Consumer Health, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is a leading consumer pharmaceuticals and foods company. The Division includes Gerber Products Company, Novartis OTC (over-the-counter medicines) and Medical Nutrition. Focusing on consumer needs and preferences, each NCH Sector provides well-known, high-quality products to enhance overall health and well-being for millions of American consumers each day. Novartis is a world leader in Life Sciences with core businesses in Healthcare, Agribusiness and Consumer Health (Nutrition and Self-Medication). In 1998, Novartis Group sales were $21.8 billion, of which $12.0 billion were in Healthcare, $5.8 billion in Agribusiness and $4.0 billion in Consumer Health. The group annually invests more than $2.5 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis employs about 85,000 people and operates in over 100 countries around the world. For more information, contact Sheldon Jones, Vice President, Communication - Novartis Consumer Health, 908-598-7624 or visit Novartis in the U.S. at www.us.novartis.com.RELATED LINKS
SOURCE Novartis Consumer Health, Inc.