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Novartis names Naomi Kelman as new head of the Novartis OTC division

BY Michael Johnsen

BASEL, Switzerland — Novartis on Thursday morning named Naomi Kelman head of the Novartis OTC division, effective March 2. She will report directly to Joseph Jimenez, Novartis CEO.

The Novartis OTC and animal health businesses will become separate Novartis divisions, in addition to the pharmaceuticals, Sandoz (generics), vaccines and diagnostics divisions. As previously announced, following the completion of the merger between Novartis and Alcon, CIBA Vision and Novartis ophthalmic medicines will be merged into the new Alcon eye care division of Novartis.

Until the close of the Alcon transaction, George Gunn will continue to manage the CIBA Vision business. Gunn also will assume his new role as head of animal health on March 2. Gunn additionally will become responsible for corporate social responsibility for Novartis, a move that elevates CSR to the executive committee level.

"With the upcoming Alcon merger, we have decided to put additional focus on two important businesses, which today comprise the consumer health division — OTC and animal health — by streamlining and simplifying our decision-making process," Jimenez said. "Naomi’s experience in consumer businesses, combined with her drive for results make her well-suited to run our OTC business. George Gunn’s extensive experience in animal health will increase the focus and growth prospects for this business."

Kelman joins Novartis from Johnson & Johnson, where she held several leadership roles within both the consumer and medical device and diagnostic sectors.

For financial reporting purposes, the Novartis OTC and Novartis animal health businesses will continue to be communicated under the umbrella of Novartis Consumer Health. Financial pro-formas of the new Consumer Health and Alcon divisions — including CIBA Vision and Novartis ophthalmic medicines — will be published following the merger with Alcon. Until then, the existing segmental presentation of financial results will continue, the company stated.

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Soon after Valentine’s, food stores foster romance

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Washington Post on Thursday morning tagged the Wegmans in Lanham, Md. — a suburb of Washington — as "Club Wegmans," the latest hot spot to meet singles.

And it’s not just singles. According to the article, “Singles hook up in front of bins of fresh produce; couples gather for dates in the grocery store’s sit-down restaurant; and shoppers sway to music from overhead speakers, singing along with Prince, Luther Vandross and Teena Marie.”

It is testimony to the evolution for grocery retailing, the Post concluded; today’s supermarkets need to serve as community centers in addition to providing a one-stop-shopping solution. Both the new Wegmans and a nearby “Social Safeway” sport lounges.

For the full article, click here.

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Kroger EVP Don Becker dies

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Supermarket giant Kroger announced company EVP Don Becker died Wednesday after suffering an aneurysm. He was 62 years old.

Becker had a 42-year career at Kroger, joining in 1969 as a clerk in the Cincinnati/Dayton division. In his most recent role as the retailer’s EVP, a position he held since 2004, Becker led the company’s merchandising and procurement for grocery, perishables, drug/general merchandise and pharmacy. He also had responsibility for advertising, consumer research and customer loyalty, manufacturing and corporate brands, customer insights and strategy, supply chain and supplier diversity. Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division and the company’s retail clinic operator, The Little Clinic, reported to Becker.

During his career at Kroger, Becker also served as co-chair of Kroger’s first general office cultural council.

"We are deeply saddened to lose Don, our dear friend and extraordinary leader," said David Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. "Don leaves a legacy of enthusiasm and passion for doing what’s right for our customers and our associates. He touched the lives of countless people in our company, as well as throughout our industry and community. He was a true ‘people person’ who mentored many associates at every level of our business."

Becker is survived by his wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

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