Rob Kowalski

Chief People & Organization Officer since September, 2021

Member of the Executive Committee

As Chief People & Organization (P&O) Officer of Novartis, Rob Kowalski leads the company’s strategy to unleash the power of its people and ensure it has the diverse talent, skills and organizational capabilities to deliver on its long-term priorities and purpose as a focused medicines company.

Rob is passionate about fostering an Inspired, Curious and Unbossed culture that drives innovation and performance, and ultimately impacts how Novartis reimagines medicine for patients. Since taking his current position in 2021, he has played an instrumental role in implementing a new structure and operating model designed to support the company’s next phase of innovation and growth.

Through the work we do in P&O, we have an impact on shaping our organization and fostering a culture that influences the way we learn together, the way we grow, the way we challenge and build on each other’s ideas and the way we empower our people to reach their individual and collective potential. Our culture is our catalyst to innovation that fuels our purpose.

As part of his strategic focus on culture, Rob is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where all employees can fully apply their talents and energies. Novartis achieved pay and gender equity in 2023, and has made three new commitments with the United Nations (UN) Equal Pay International Coalition to achieve by 2027.

Known for his skill in building and leading diverse organizations, Rob draws on more than 30 years of experience in regulatory affairs and drug development roles in the pharmaceutical industry and has led teams to successfully develop and register dozens of new medicines. Prior to his current role he was Global Head of Regulatory Affairs for Novartis. He holds a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US.

Outside of Novartis, Rob loves spending time with family and friends and enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities with his wife and two children, including water sports and skiing.

Nationality: American | Year of birth: 1968

Professional experience

  • Executive Vice President and Global Head of Regulatory Affairs (2018–2021), and US Head of Global Drug Development (2009–2015 and 2017–2021), Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, US
  • Ad interim President, Novartis Corporation, US (2021)
  • Ad interim Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis AG, Switzerland (2018)
  • Senior Vice President and Head of Regulatory Affairs, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, US (2009–2015 and 2017–2018)
  • Senior Vice President and Head of Regulatory Affairs, Novartis Pharma AG, Switzerland (2015–2017)
  • Global Head of Country Medical Development, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, US (2010–2011)
  • Previously held regulatory leadership roles at Schering-Plough Corporation (now Merck) and Pharmacia Corporation (now Pfizer)


  • Member of the advisory board, Industry Pharmacists Organization, US


  • Doctor of pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US
  • Bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US

Information is accurate as of January 31, 2024