Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen hands off CSO job at Novo Nordisk after a 30-year run, then pivots to CEO post at huge Novo Foundation

Another longtime Big Pharma R&D chief is hitting the exit.

Novo Nordisk put out word this morning that at the end of this month, the 30-year vet Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen will leave his post as EVP and chief scientific officer for Novo. Marcus Schindler is being promoted to CSO and EVP for research & early development while Martin Holst Lange steps up to his new role as EVP for development.

Thomsen joined the company all the way back in 1991 as head of growth hormone research, when he was 31 years old, then moved up to diabetes research in 1994 and CSO 21 years ago.

But Thomsen’s not going far. The huge Novo Nordisk Foundation, which has handed out more than $4 billion in grants over the last decade, has selected the closely familiar CSO as its new CEO. The foundation owns the holding company that owns a majority interest in Novo Nordisk, and acts independently.

The CSO’s accomplishments at Novo include the successful development of 2 key growth products for diabetes, the closely related blockbusters Ozempic and Rybelsus, as well as a score on the obesity front.

We’ve seen a number of top R&D execs step down from the larger industry players in recent months, most notably Roger Perlmutter at Merck and Mace Rothenberg at Pfizer, while younger players like Genentech’s Aviv Regev have taken their place at the top of the field. This kind of generational switch will leave us with new people to watch running some of the world’s largest pipelines.

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