The Novartis chairman, who under his strategy led to the building of a huge vaccine production and research facility in Holly Springs, won’t leave the company with a huge golden parachute.

Daniel Vasella, who is stepping down as chairman of the Swiss-based international drug firm, has agreed to cancel his $78 million agreement to not work for rival drug makers.

The agreement was “intended to protect the company” and would have barred Vasella from “making his knowledge and know- how available to competitors who may take advantage of his experience,” Novartis (NYSE: NVS) said today in a statement. The accord provided for a maximum annual payment of 12 million Swiss francs ($13 million) a year for six years, Novartis said.

Vasella, who is set to step down as chairman on Feb. 22, had previously expressed his intention to make available the net amount he received under the agreement for philanthropic activities, Novartis said.

News of the “non-compete deal” emerged last week and met with widespread criticism in Switzerland.

The company says the chairman had agreed to donate the money to “philanthropic activities” but Vasella said Tuesday he “understood that many people in Switzerland find the amount of the compensation linked to the non-compete agreement unreasonably high.”