Sonwabo Maholwana joins Novartis South Africa as HR head


The new head of people and organisation has been tasked with managing talent and development.

The local entity of global medicines company Novartis has appointed Sonwabo Maholwana as head of people and organisation.

Sonwabo joins the company from German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, where he was the human resources director for three and a half years.

He has a Management Advancement Programme (MAP) postgraduate qualification, an Industrial Relations Programme certificate and is currently studying a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (PDBA) at Wits Business School in Johannesburg, Gauteng. He boasts more than 20 years of experience in enhancing organisational culture, talent development, and legislative compliance.

Sonwabo will be in charge of managing talent and development. Speaking on his appointment, he said he is excited to be joining the company at such a crucial time. “I could not have joined them at a better time, given the great shift in the world of work globally. Through its transformation journey, Novartis has displayed its commitment to drive innovation and performance for better patient outcomes, while creating an exceptional work experience for all.”

In April 2022, the company underwent a major restructuring shift introducing a new organisational structure and operating model that cut roughly 7% of its global workforce. The restructuring also saw a merger of the pharmaceutical and oncology business units into one unit, known as the innovative medicines business unit.

Odile Pincemaille, people and organisation head for MEA, said, “We are delighted that Sonwabo joins the company at this point of our transformation journey where we are looking to foster agility, innovation and growth. Maximising on the potential of this more streamlined structure, and approaches such as our hybrid-working model, we are excited that he will help the company take these efforts forward.”

Sonwabo said he looks forward to playing a role in shaping the culture at Novartis, which will create an enabling environment to win for patients and serve customers.





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