Changes to the Board of Novo Holdings

Changes to the Board of Novo Holdings

May 17, 2018

Lars Rebien Sørensen, former CEO of Novo Nordisk, to become new Chairman of Novo Holdings

Lars Rebien Sørensen, former CEO of global healthcare company Novo Nordisk, will become the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Novo Holdings as of 1 July 2018.

Novo Holdings is a world-leading life science investor focusing on creating long-term value. At the end of 2017, Novo Holdings wholly or partly owned 85 life science companies in the United States and Europe. Novo Holdings invests in life science companies at all stages of development and manages a broad portfolio of financial assets. The income and investment returns for 2017 were DKK 20.7 billion (€2.8 billion).

Lars Rebien Sørensen was CEO of Novo Nordisk from 2000 to 2016 during which time the company has developed into a world-leading healthcare company with about 42,000 employees that markets its products in more than 165 countries.

Lars Rebien Sørensen will replace Sten Scheibye, who retires from the Board of Directors of Novo Holdings as of 1 July.

”I believe this is the right time for me to pass the torch. Lars Rebien Sørensen’s deep life science knowledge and business experience will be of great value to Novo Holdings as it makes plans to further increase its investments in the coming years,” says Sten Scheibye.

Sten Scheibye has been Chairman of Novo Holdings since 2013. In this period, the total assets of Novo Holdings have grown from DKK 201 billion (€27 billion) in 2013 to DKK 358 billion (€48 billion) at the end of 2017. The company’s annual return on life science investments has been 21% for the past 5 years.

Lars Rebien Sørensen says: ”With Sten Scheibye as its Chairman, Novo Holdings has developed tremendously and has significantly increased its investments and influence in the global life science sector. I consider it to be a great responsibility to lead the continued growth of Novo Holdings to benefit the Novo Nordisk Foundation.”

Wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the purpose of the investments of Novo Holdings is to achieve a return that the Foundation can distribute for scientific, humanitarian and social purposes and for the treatment and prevention of diabetes. In 2017, the Novo Nordisk Foundation awarded grants totalling DKK 5.8 billion (€780 million).

As of 1 July 2018, Lars Rebien Sørensen will also become Chairman of the Board of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. He joined the boards of both the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Novo Holdings in March 2017.

In addition to the change of chairman, Steen Riisgaard, former CEO of Novozymes, will become Deputy Chairman of Novo Holdings. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2013.

Novo Holdings has appointed several new board members in the past year and as of 1 July 2018, the Board of Directors will comprise:

Lars Rebien Sørensen, Chairman
Steen Riisgaard, Vice Chairman
Jean-Luc Butel, Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company
Jeppe Christiansen, CEO of Maj Invest A/S
Francis Cuss, former Chief Scientific Officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb
Vivianne Monges, former CFO of several global pharmaceutical companies

About Lars Rebien Sørensen:

Lars Rebien Sørensen was born in 1954. He received an MSc in Forestry from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen in 1981 and a BSc in International Economics from Copenhagen Business School in 1983.

Lars Rebien Sørensen joined Novo Nordisk Enzymes Marketing in 1982 and was assigned various overseas posts over the years, including the Middle East and the United States. In May 1994, he was appointed a member of corporate management, and in December 1994, he assumed responsibility for the healthcare business. He was appointed President and CEO of Novo Nordisk A/S in November 2000, a position he held until 31 December 2016.

Lars Rebien Sørensen is Deputy Chairman of the Carlsberg Group, a member of the boards of Jungbunzlauer Suisse AG (Switzerland) and Essity AB (Sweden) and a member of the Supervisory Board of Thermo Fischer Scientific Inc. (United States). He is also Chairman of the Advisory Board for Axcel.

In 2007, Lars Rebien Sørensen was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Copenhagen.

About Novo Holdings

Novo Holdings A/S is a Danish private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It is the holding company of the Novo Group, comprising Novo Nordisk A/S, Novozymes A/S and NNIT A/S, and manages the Foundation’s assets.

In addition to being the major shareholder in the Novo Group companies, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies, takes significant ownership positions in well-established companies within life science and manages a broad portfolio of financial assets.

It is the vision of Novo Holdings to be recognized as a world-leading life science investor with a focus on creating long-term value. Read more at

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests. It has two objectives: 1) to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of the companies in the Novo Group; and 2) to support scientific, humanitarian and social causes.

The vision of the Foundation is to contribute significantly to research and development that improves the health and welfare of people. Since 2010, the Foundation has donated more than DKK 16 billion (€2.2 billion), primarily for research and diabetes treatment and prevention at public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and the other Nordic countries. Read more at

Further information

Christian Mostrup Scheel, Senior Press Officer, phone: +45 3067 4805,