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Novartis CEO said he was ‘completely blindsided’ by Michael Cohen contract

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Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan
Novartis CEO Vas
Narasimhan

Reuters

  • Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said on Thursday he was
    “completely blindsided” when the drug company was thrown into the
    political spotlight.
  • Novartis came
    under scrutiny in May after it was revealed that it had signed
    a $1.2 million yearlong contract with Cohen’s consulting firm
    in February 2017.
  • Speaking at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York,
    Narasimhan said that he wasn’t “mentally prepared” for the
    blowback after only three months on the job. 

In May, Novartis made national headlines, but not because of
anything related to the drugs the pharma giant produces.

Instead, it was revealed that
Novartis was among the companies listed in paying Essential
Consulting
, a firm linked to Michael Cohen, President Donald
Trump’s former personal lawyer. 

Novartis said at the time that it had signed a yearlong, $1.2
million contract, but after one meeting with Cohen,  decided
not to engage further.

Narasimhan said at the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Thursday that
he was “completely blindsided” by news of the contract. 

Novartis changed CEOs in February, with Narasimhan
replacing former CEO Joe Jimenez. Narasimhan was only three
months into the job when the company was thrown into the
political spotlight. 

I was not mentally
prepared,” he said, adding that he got a call from his mom during
the time of the incident asking if he’d seen
CNN. 



Read
more: 



A
new Senate report says that Novartis had more contact with
Michael Cohen than it let on


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