Top Novartis lawyer exits over Trump attorney deal error

Marco Green
May 16, 2018

Novartis group general counsel Felix Ehrat is standing down from the company after taking personal responsibility for a $1.2m (£890,000) contract with US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, an agreement he admits was an "error".

Novartis' general counsel Felix Ehrat will be replaced on June 1 by Shannon Thyme Klinger, who now works as the company's chief ethics, risk and compliance officer, according to the WSJ. He will be replaced by chief ethics, risk and compliance officer Shannon Thyme Klinger.

Ehrat's retirement echoes that last week of of AT&T's top lobbyist, Bob Quinn, who had responsibility for that company's hiring of Cohen and his Essential Consultants vehicle.

"Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error".

His departure follows the disclosure last week that Novartis paid $1.2 million in monthly installments to Michael Cohen's Essential Consultants for access to the new Trump administration, as part of a one-year contract signed in February 2017. The company said it had expected that Cohen could advise it on the administration's approach to healthcare policies such as the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Novartis Chief Executive Vasant Narasimhan last week called.

"We should have just definitively parted ways with this guy as soon as we knew he was not going to be a help", said Jimenez, who claimed Cohen told him he no longer worked for Trump at the time of the contract's signing.

However, Novartis also said it continued to pay Cohen $100,000 a month until February 2018.

Joe Jimenez, the CEO of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, addresses a news conference to present the company's 2016 results in Basel, Switzerland January 25, 2017.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER