Novartis welcomed a new CEO on Tuesday 26 January, who will take over from Daniel Vasella, one of the most well-known and longest serving CEOs in the European industry, with 14 years under his belt.

Joe Jimenez, 50, has stepped up from the position as CEO of Novartis’ pharmaceutical division, taking the role analysts thought would be offered to Novartis COO Jörg Reinhardt.

Following the change in roles, Reinhardt stepped down from his position and Novartis made the COO tenure redundant.

Vesella, who will remain chairman of Novartis, recently oversaw the company’s takeover of Alcon and announced his resignation on the back of record results for the company in 2009, which launched a range of new products across its healthcare range.

It reported a rise of 54% in fourth-quarter net profit to $2.32bn.

Part of this success was down to a rise in sales of hypertension drug Diovan and anticancer drug Glivec – up to $12.93bn in the September-December period from $10.08bn in 2009.

Vesella said the acquisition of Alcon will help Jimenez encourage further innovation and growth strategy for the Swiss medical company.

“Novartis delivered an excellent performance in 2009 driven by strong underlying growth across our entire healthcare portfolio. Over the past 12 months, we sustained our lead in approvals for new products, achieving more than 30 major new product approvals in the US, Europe and Japan,” Vesella said.

“The international experience in pharmaceuticals and consumer businesses together with an excellent track record destine Joe Jimenez to lead Novartis into a next phase of expansion and growth.”

Novartis said growth in 2010 is most likely to come from the demands of an ageing population and emerging growth markets.

Jimenez will officially start his role as CEO at Novartis on 1 February.