As CFO of Novartis, Harry Kirsch is responsible for steering the company’s strategy to maintain a strong financial position, support future innovation, and deliver long-term sustainable value to stakeholders. He has held this position since 2013.
Harry’s role includes identifying and executing mergers, acquisitions, and other business development and licensing deals that help reinforce the company’s pipeline and strengthen long-term value creation. Major milestones include the acquisition of GSK’s oncology products in 2015, the divestiture of the Vaccines and Animal Health divisions, the creation of an OTC joint venture with GSK, and the divestiture of that stake in 2018. He also oversaw the spin-off of Alcon in 2019 – the largest healthcare spin-off in Europe – and the acquisitions of AveXis and Advanced Accelerator Applications in 2018, and The Medicines Company in 2020.
Another area of focus is to support the integration of environmental, social and governance standards into core Novartis business operations. In 2020, Harry oversaw the issuance of a sustainability-linked bond, the first of its kind in the healthcare industry, which reinforces the company’s commitment to its patient access targets.
The future success of Novartis depends on our ability to remain an innovative powerhouse and a trusted partner in the healthcare industry. Finance serves all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, patients and society. Our duty is to ensure we have the right investments to fuel our innovation pipeline, and to drive productivity programs, margin improvements and cash flows that enable our business to create sustainable value.
Under Harry’s leadership, Finance is helping to drive the digital transformation of Novartis, with artificial intelligence increasingly used for budgeting, forecasting and basic analytical tasks. He is a passionate supporter of diversity and inclusion, and of learning and talent development through coaching and mentoring programs, and established a Finance Academy to promote technical and leadership skills.
Harry joined Novartis in 2003. He became CFO of Pharma Europe in 2008, and CFO of the Pharmaceuticals Division (now Innovative Medicines) in 2010.
On a personal note, Harry likes hiking with his family and dog, and supporting his children at ice hockey and horseback riding.