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Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation: No. 1 in the DiversityInc Top 50

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Editor’s note: In late April 2014, leadership changes were announced at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and its parent company, Novartis AG. As a result, André Wyss, formerly U.S. Country Head, President of Novartis Corporation and President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, was appointed to the new global position of Head, Novartis Business Services and also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of Novartis. André was succeeded by Christi Shaw, formerly head of the company’s North America Oncology business, who has been named U.S. Country Head, President of Novartis Corporation and President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Christi is the first woman to serve in these roles.

A focused plan to improve human-capital results has propelled the company to the No. 1 spot.

André Wyss, President at the time Novartis received this recognition, was a constant and strong force within the company for better metrics to assess demographic progress and accountability measures to ensure an inclusive workplace. The executive leadership team’s annual performance-management goals include a 20 percent weighting toward people-related objectives, which have specific diversity objectives.

Wyss continuously communicated the importance of diversity and inclusion to NPC’s business goals and was at the forefront of integrating it into all aspects of the business.

Rhonda Crichlow, Vice President and U.S. Head of Diversity & Inclusion, leads the company’s D&I efforts. In the past year, the Diversity & Inclusion department and the Executive Diversity & Inclusion Council implemented a strategic planning process that included an organizational assessment and analysis of both the internal and external landscape. As a result, the company has a new paradigm focused on integrating diversity and inclusion into its processes, including clinical trial and go-to-market strategies, as well as talent management and recruitment.

The company also introduced a centralized process to attract, monitor and verify veteran, disability and LGBT talent.

In addition, NPC continues to work on building its diversity-training curriculum to meet the needs of a flexible workplace.

NPC has 15 employee resource groups, including groups for working parents, caretakers and a group called Cancer Hope. More than 40 percent of employees are members of these groups, which are used increasingly for talent development as well as for marketing efforts to communities. The groups have had great success collaborating with brand teams to impact business goals.


Christi Shaw
U.S. Country Head, President of Novartis Corporation and
President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

“Focusing on the unique needs of our diverse patients and customers is what matters most at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. That’s why we work so hard to create a diverse workforce and harness that power in how we work together—inclusively as one team challenging the obvious, and exploring all possibilities to make a real difference for the people who count on our medicines every day.”

Rhonda Crichlow
Vice President and Head of U.S. Diversity & Inclusion

“Within NPC, diversity and inclusion are foundational to our culture. We believe that diverse backgrounds and experiences bring value in many ways—by helping us address the needs of patients and customers, enhancing immeasurably our work environment, and enabling all associates to contribute fully, maximize their potential, and ultimately succeed in meeting our business priorities.”



U.S. Headquarters: East Hanover, N.J.
U.S. Employees: 8,104 (NPC is the U.S. affiliate of Novartis AG)

• Deep, visible CEO commitment
• Women in top levels more than doubled in last 5 years
• Moved up more than 7 spots in each of last 5 years
• Executive diversity council focused on business goals and metrics


  • No. 2 Top 10 Companies for Recruitment


What Drove Novartis to Become No. 1
Christi Shaw, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation: ‘We Tap Into All Perspectives’
Novartis’ David Epstein: A Diverse Team Can ‘Accomplish Feats Nobody Thought Possible’
What HR Really Needs to Succeed
Meeting in a Box: CEOs Who Are Diversity Champions