May 16, 2018 / 11:30 AM / 6 months ago

Novartis ex-CEO says regrets hiring, not firing Trump lawyer

ZURICH, May 16 (Reuters) - Ex-Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez regrets rushing into a $100,000-per-month consulting contract with U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer but said post-election uncertainty over the incoming administration's healthcare ideas put pressure on the Swiss drugmaker to sign a deal quickly. "There should have been more due diligence," Jimenez said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday. "There was scarcity of asset, right? I mean, there were very few people who knew the people that were being placed in a lot of jobs."

Jimenez said he also made a mistake in not seeking to end payments to Michael Cohen immediately after Novartis quickly determined that he would be of little help. Cohen was eventually paid $1.2 million for the one-year deal that prompted the drugmaker's top lawyer to resign. (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)

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