Franz Humer, chairman and former chief executive officer of global drug giant Roche, is joining Durham-based venture capital firm Pappas Ventures as a partner and senior advisor. He’ll be reuniting with friends and former business colleagues at the firm, which is focused on life science investments. 

The announcement was made early Tuesday.

Humer, 67, plans to retire as Roche chairman in March of next year, the venture firm said.

“We are honored to have Franz join our team,” said Art Pappas, the founder and managing partner of Pappas Ventures. “Throughout his career, he has consistently focused on the importance of innovation in creating products that can make a real difference to patients. He will be invaluable in helping us pursue this same vision.”

Humer oversaw Roche as CEO and or as chairman for 15 years. He also served earlier in his career as chief operating officer and head of pharmaceuticals at F. Hoffman-La Roche.

Humer is very familiar with Pappas and Ernie Mario, who also is a venture partner at Pappas. The three worked together earlier in their careers as executives and board members at Glaxo.

“I am thrilled to be able to work again with Art and Ernie and the excellent team they have built over the past 20 years,” Humer said in a statement. “Pappas Ventures has a proven track record in investing in companies that create truly innovative products, and I am looking forward to contributing to this strategy.”

Humer has worked in pharmaceuticals since 1973.

He currently is chairman of Diageo Plc and serves as a director at CitiGroup. 

Biographical information

Humer’s biographical information as published at Roche:

Personal Data

Nationality: Swiss, Austrian

Year of Birth: July 1, 1946

Position: Chairman


  • University of Innsbruck, Doctor of Law, INSEAD, MBA
  • Honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Science, University of Basel
  • Honorary doctorate of science, London School of Pharmacy

Professional Career:

  • 1971 – 1973: ICME Zurich
  • 1973 – 1981: Schering Plough Corporation, including General Manager, Ecuador, UK, Portugal
  • 1981 – 1995: Glaxo Holdings plc, Area Manager, Southern Europe, Director of Marketing Development and Product Licensing, Chief Operating Director
  • since 1995: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Member of the Board of Directors of the Roche Holding Ltd, Basel, and Head of the Pharmaceuticals Division
  • 1996: Chief Operating Officer of F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd
  • 1998: Chief Executive Officer Roche Holding Ltd
  • 2001: Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Roche Holding Ltd
  • 2008: Chairman of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding Ltd

Other activities/memberships:

  • Non-executive Chairman of Diageo Plc
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Citigroup Inc.
  • Chairman of INSEAD
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Member of the International Advisory Board of Allianz SE
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Jacobs Holding AG
  • Chairman of the Humer Stiftung