Roche CEO of Holding AG Severin Shvan is due to step down in March after a 15-year tenure marked by the marriage of the Swiss healthcare giant and California-based Genentech, the success of three cancer drugs and the challenge of replacing them when lower-cost competition emerged.

Mr. Schwan also presided over setbacks in his long tenure at the top of the company. Genentech lost a rare challenge to US regulators to withdraw approval for a breast cancer treatment in 2011. The following year, he failed in a high-profile takeover bid for a gene sequencing company.

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