I would like to thank Severin Schwan most sincerely for his outstanding achievements as CEO of Roche over the last 15 years, as well as for our always trusting and respectful cooperation. Severin Schwan has contributed decisively to the major success of your company. I would particularly like to highlight the integration of Genentech, a milestone in the development of Roche. Equally noteworthy is the fact that our pharmaceutical business has more than compensated for the loss of patent protection for our top-selling medicines thanks to the introduction of new, innovative products in recent years.
Finally, I am delighted that we are able to further strengthen the Board of Directors of Roche with two key personalities: the Board of Directors will propose Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé, and Akiko Iwasaki, Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University and a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, at the 2023 Annual General Meeting for election as new Board members.
It has been a great honour for me to work for this unique and excellent company. Roche’s success is due in particular to the fact that the company has been owned by the founder’s descendants for over 125 years. The owner families’ long-term orientation enables the leadership of Roche to make the right decisions, so that the company can continue to make major contributions to people’s health for many years ahead. I therefore thank the owner families for their great support.
I would also like in particular to thank all Roche employees for the significant medical advances we have achieved together. And thank you very much, dear shareholders, for your trust.
*Unless otherwise stated, all growth rates and comparisons to the previous year are at constant exchange rates (CER; average rates 2021) and all total figures quoted are reported in CHF.
Your company achieved good results even in last year’s challenging environment. Sales increased by 2%* and net income amounted to 13.5 billion Swiss francs. The Board of Directors proposes at the Annual General Meeting that the dividend be increased by 2% to 9.50 Swiss francs per share and non-voting equity security, the 36th increase in succession.
The challenges of the past year have been manifold. In particular, the war in Ukraine has brought unimaginable suffering to millions of people. It is having a massive impact on the economy. At the same time, people around the world are still preoccupied with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In connection with the war in Ukraine, I was able to experience in a particularly impressive way how our employees are fully committed to providing patients with medicines and diagnostic tests. I am deeply grateful for the incredible helpfulness and initiative of our employees across borders.
Currently, Roche has a total number of 87 new compounds and 65 additional indications in clinical development or registration. And our Diagnostics Division is also flourishing thanks to the continuous development of new, innovative instruments and tests. That is why I am very confident about the future of Roche.
For our innovations to reach people, we need to work with our healthcare partners within each country. Roche is engaged in hundreds of partnerships and collaborations around the world to improve access to our medicines and diagnostics, and thereby improve people’s lives.
An example of this is our partnership with Project ECHO, a non-profit organisation which uses video telementoring for medical education and care management. The project connects national centres of excellence to remote and underserved areas, giving patients access to specialised care that they otherwise wouldn’t receive.
Good healthcare can be life-saving for patients and creates enormous value for society as a whole. Imagine what it means when a person with cancer is cured thanks to a timely, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, and can continue to be around for their family as well as contributing to society and the economy. Early diagnosis can even prevent illness altogether and thus avoid costly hospital stays.
I hope that access to modern and effective healthcare will one day be possible everywhere in the world. Roche is making a significant contribution here.
This is my final letter to you, esteemed shareholders of Roche. After twelve years on the Board of Directors, including nine as Chairman, I have decided not to stand for re-election at the next General Meeting in 2023. With Severin Schwan as the designated new Chairman of the Board of Directors and Thomas Schinecker as the new CEO, Roche is being led into the future by a strong and highly experienced team.