The board of directors of the Roche healthcare group in Basel has appointed Erich Hunziker as the company's new chief financial officer.
Hunziker, 48, has a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and is currently chief executive officer of the international trading group Diethelm Keller.
From 1983 to 1998, he held leading positions in finance, including the diagnostics and pharmaceuticals business of Boehringer Mannheim, and he more recently was chief financial officer of Corange.
Corange, the holding company of the Boehringer Mannheim group, was taken over by Roche in 1997.
Hunziker replaces Anton Affentranger, who was fired in May just 24 hours after the group's main rival in Basel, Novartis, bought a 20 per cent stake in Roche for SFr4.8 billion.
Affentranger only took up the post at the beginning of the year. The chief executive officer of Roche, Franz Humer, said it had been his decision to release Affentranger.
"I respect Affentranger, but sometimes, the chemistry between certain people is just not there," he said. Humer denied the decision had been influenced by the surprise purchase of Roche shares by Novartis.
swissinfo with agencies