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Roche Names Lufthansa CEO Franz to Replace Humer

Incoming Roche Chairman Christoph Franz
Christoph Franz, currently chief executive officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, will replace Franz Humer as chairman of Roche Holding AG. Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg

Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer medicines, named Deutsche Lufthansa AG Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz to replace Chairman Franz Humer next year.

Roche will propose his nomination to the annual shareholder meeting on March 4, the Basel-based company said today in a statement. Franz’s term at Lufthansa expires May 31.

Humer, who led Roche for more than a decade, is credited as an architect of Roche’s strategy of yoking its diagnostics and drugs units together to create medicines targeted at individual patients.

Humer, 67, was CEO when Roche bought a 30 percent stake in U.S. biotechnology company Genentech Inc. in 1999 and helped oversee the full takeover of the company as chairman in 2009. The deals netted Roche its top-selling cancer medicines Rituxan and Herceptin. The latter, a breast cancer drug, was the company’s first “personalized” tumor treatment, with a diagnostic test to show which women it is likely to help.

Franz, 53, has been Lufthansa CEO since 2011. He previously served as CEO of Swiss International Air Lines.

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