Michael Willi, former communications chief at UBS, will take the global communications reins of Swiss drug giant Novartis, based in Basel.

Willi, Galen

Starting June 1, he replaces Michele Galen, who led communications for Novartis for two years but has returned to the US for family reasons, the company said. Galen, a Burson-Marsteller alum and former editor of Business Week, joined Novartis in the US in 2001.

Willi, a Swiss national, was chief communications officer at UBS before stepping down in February 2013 amid a revamp at the global financial institution.

He spent 10 years with the bank in Zurich and New York, as well as 10 years with Swiss Bank Corporation, which merged with Union Bank of Switzerland to form UBS in 1998. He has been a PR consultant for the past year.

Willi will report to Novartis CEO Joseph Jiminez, overseeing brand and reputation management, corporate comms. and product comms.