Case Study

Leading the digital transformation at Novartis: The role of the CDO (A)

10 pages
August 2020
Reference: IMD-7-2104

In 2018, Novartis set the ambition to become a leading medicines company powered by data and digital technologies. To realize this goal, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Vasant Narasimhan, set Data and Digital Leadership as one of Novartis’ five strategic priorities. As part of the new digital strategy, Bertrand Bodson, known for turning Argos from a traditional catalogue retailer to one of the third largest online retailers in the UK, was hired as its new Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Bodson arrived on the pharmaceuticals scene in the midst of exciting but also challenging times: science, technology and data were converging, progressing by leap and bounds and presenting new breakthrough opportunities. At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry was evolving, and both competitors and other players in the ecosystem were getting more sophisticated. Bodson needed to act quickly. Pharma was being disrupted and he needed to align the organization and capture the new opportunities. How could he get Novartis digitally ready?

Learning Objective
  • Explore the role and qualities of a CDO.
  • Examine what a digital transformation could entail in a multinational corporation
  • Analyze factors for successes and failures in digital transformations
Digital Transformation, Culture Change, Chief Digital Officer
Novartis, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals
Field Research
© 2020
Available Languages
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics