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.
 
 

SOURCE Novartis Consumer Health, Inc.
RELATED LINKS
http://www.us.novartis.com

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