Swiss company GC exits after questioning about Trump lawyer

May 18, 2018 Felix Ehrat, the group general counsel of Swiss healthcare company Novartis, is stepping down from his role due to what he refers to as “an error” pertaining to the company’s dealings with US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Ehrat’s retirement from the company will take place in June. The veteran lawyer has been both the GC and sat on the executive committee at Novartis since 2011. Prior to that he spent 25 years as a corporate lawyer at Zürich-based law firm Bär & Karrer. His replacement will be Shannon Thyme Klinger, the chief ethics, risk, and compliance officer.

The “error” in question has to do with a former agreement between Novartis and a company of Cohen’s called Essential Consultants, to which Novartis was making monthly payments, adding up to $1.2m. Novartis’ former chief executive Joe Jimenez, who left the company in September, was the one to approve the contract.

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