Company: Novartis
Innovation: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Executive Female Leadership Program
Date Introduced: 2010
Award Recognition: Award of Excellence

Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG is actively addressing the gap in female leadership gap and fostering gender diversity. A key component of this strategy is the Executive Female Leadership Program (EFLP), launched in 2010 by Joe Jimenez, then head of Pharmaceuticals Division and now CEO of Novartis.

Designed to address issues talented women may face when striving for the most senior levels of the organization, these include exploring development opportunities and strategic career planning, but also broad cultural issues, such as lack of flexibility in working hours, the impact of dual-career families on mobility, and low tolerance for different leadership styles.

Fifty-six participants completed the twelve-month program in 2010 and 2011.

The participants work closely with a mentor from the top 200 Novartis leaders and external coaches. They come together for three face-to-face sessions and work on complex projects. Webinars on key business and leadership development topics broaden and deepen their learning.

Topline data shows that 18 percent of participants have been appointed as country heads or general managers, while 14 percent have been promoted onto a local/country or functional executive committee. A full 79 percent of participants have moved to new roles (either a promotion or a lateral move to gain breadth of experience).