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Daniel Vasella steps down as chairman of Novartis after 17 years spent in the board of the Swiss pharmaceutical company.
The pharmaceutical industry veteran, who oversaw the 1996 merger of Sandoz AG and Ciba-Geigy AG that created Novartis, is set to be replaced by Bayer Healthcare Chairman Jörg Reinhardt.
Reinhardt lost out in the race to become Norvatis's chief executive in 2010, when Vasella separated the roles of chairman and CEO. His return has been hailed by Michael Leuchten, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London, who said that the 59 year-old "can hit the ground running".