Since becoming CEO of Novartis in 2018, Vas has led a strategic and cultural transformation to build a leading medicines company powered by advanced therapy platforms and data science. He leads a company of more than 100,000 associates that does business in approximately 155 countries and that reached 769 million patients with its medicines in 2020.
Vas has focused his education and career on improving human health and on his personal purpose of inspiring a healthier world. During and after his medical studies, he worked on public health issues such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in India, Africa and South America. He continues to champion access and global health priorities, including through a commitment by Novartis to expand access to innovative medicines in low- and middle-income countries by at least 200% by 2025.
I never lose my sense of wonder at how human ingenuity is leading to longer, healthier lives. At Novartis, we are reimagining medicine by using innovative science and technology to address some of society’s most challenging and long-standing healthcare issues. We discover and develop breakthrough treatments and find new ways to deliver them to as many people as possible.
Since joining Novartis in 2005, Vas has held a range of leadership roles, including Global Head of Development for Novartis Vaccines, and Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. He has overseen the licensing of over 30 novel medicines, including cell and gene therapies and vaccines. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, he helped lead efforts at Novartis to develop and distribute a vaccine for the world. In recognition of his sustained efforts to improve human health, he is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine in the US.
As CEO, Vas is transforming Novartis to unleash the creativity of employees and make culture a driver of innovation, reputation and performance. Drawing inspiration from ancient philosophical texts and from leading thinkers today, he is committed to developing “unbossed” leaders who inspire and empower their teams to solve problems. Vas has also sparked a digital revolution at Novartis; the company is using data science and digital technology to find new ways to discover and develop medicines and increase efficiency.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vas lives in Basel, Switzerland, with his wife and two sons. A lifelong vegetarian, he is passionate about environmental and wildlife conservation, and is an avid reader on topics including history, leadership and philosophy.