Navigating the Culture Journey: From Winding Roads to Construction Detours and Way Points

  • Staying the course on culture – learnings from our 5-year culture transformation journey at Novartis
  • Going “Glocal” – finding the balance of culture for all but with local meaning in a geographic and skill diverse organization
  • A lived culture – the role of leaders in bringing culture to life for our people

Rob Kowalski
Chief People & Organization Officer

As Chief People & Organization (P&O) Officer of Novartis, Rob Kowalski leads the company’s strategy to unleash the power of its people and ensure it has the diverse talent, skills and organizational capabilities to deliver on its long-term priorities and purpose as a focused medicines company.

Rob is passionate about fostering an Inspired, Curious and Unbossed culture that drives innovation and performance, and ultimately impacts how Novartis reimagines medicine for patients. Since taking his current position in 2021, he has played an instrumental role in implementing a new structure and operating model designed to support the company’s next phase of innovation and growth.

“Through the work we do in P&O, we have an impact on shaping our organization and fostering a culture that influences the way we learn together, the way we grow, the way we challenge and build on each other’s ideas and the way we empower our people to reach their individual and collective potential. Our culture is our catalyst to innovation that fuels our purpose.”

As part of his strategic focus on culture, Rob is committed to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where all employees can fully apply their talents and energies. He is responsible for delivering on the company’s pledge to the United Nations (UN) Equal Pay International Coalition to achieve gender balance in management and further improve pay equity and transparency processes by 2023.

Known for his skill in building and leading diverse organizations, Rob draws on 30 years of experience in regulatory affairs and drug development roles in the pharmaceutical industry and has led teams to successfully develop and register dozens of new medicines. Prior to his current role he was Global Head of Regulatory Affairs for Novartis. He holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US.

Outside of Novartis, Rob loves spending time with family and friends and enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities with his wife and two children, including water sports and skiing.