Goldman's banker quits for return to pharmaceuticals
Jonathan Symonds, the highly-respected former finance director of AstraZeneca, is to end his foray into investment banking after less than two years and return to the pharmaceutical industry.
After narrowly missing out on top job, Mr Symonds, 50, quit AstraZeneca in June 2007 to join investment bank Goldman Sachs, where he was charged with building new client relationships. His appointment was so senior that he joined as one of Goldman's 300 elite global partners with a pay package of around £5m.
However, he has now been lured to Swiss drug group Novartis, to reprise his role as chief financial officer. The former accountant was AstraZeneca's finance director for eight years and oversaw the merger between Zeneca and Swedish group Astra that created the company. He also worked on the £7.6bn acquisition of US group MedImmune.
Observers credit Mr Symonds with improving AstraZeneca's efficiency as the company faced up to growing competition from generic products.
The appointment was welcomed by industry analysts, with Barclays calling it "good news".
Daniel Vasella, the long-standing boss of Novartis, said: "Jonathan Symonds' financial expertise, broad industry experience and deep knowledge of the healthcare industry make him especially suited to take on the responsibilities of chief financial officer of Novartis from Raymund Breu,"
Novartis is Europe's second largest drugmaker behind GlaxoSmithKline and Mr Symonds will join the company on September 1.