Dan Vasella

Daniel Vasella, former chairman and CEO of Novartis

Dan Vasella is a pioneer in the fight against GIST. Recently, LRG Executive Director Norman Scherzer had the opportunity to speak at the retirement celebration for former Novartis CEO and Chairman of the Board, Dr. Dan Vasella in Basel, Switzerland.

As CEO, Dr. Vasella was instrumental in getting Gleevec (then STI-571) to market for a fairly small patient population, but after

There were many illustrious speakers at the event, including a very cheeky speech made by Novartis’ architect, Marco Serra, and powerful speeches about Dr. Vasella’s great achievements made by some of his life-long business colleagues and friends. But when Norman took the stage, he kept his speech simple by thanking Dan for the gift of time he had given to Norman and his wife, Anita.

He presented Dan a framed clock which also had a picture of Norman, Anita and their seven grandchildren in Disney World. It was a trip Norman had promised his family if Anita became well again, which at that pre-Gleevec time seemed unlikely. Next to the clock and photo were notes written by Norman’s children and grandchildren also thanking Dr. Vasella for the gift of many more days with their beloved mother and grandmother.

It was emotional moment for everyone in attendance that day and for Norman and Dan Vasella in particular.