Novartis Investors Cheer Strong Earnings and New CEO

Novartis (NVS) reported a remarkable 54% increase in fourth-quarter net income to $2.3 billion, just slightly below analysts' expectations of $2.4 billion. The Swiss drugmaker's net sales also shot up 28% to $12.9 billion, helped by its H1N1 swine flu vaccines. Novartis also announced its new chief executive and a slimmed-down board. Joe Jimenez (left), currently division head of the pharmaceutical business, will replace Daniel Vasella (right) as the company's new CEO. Vasella, who has led the company since it was formed in 1996 through the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz Labs, will remain chairman.