Dr. Daniel Vasella, chairman of multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis, has been named to the board of directors at American Express (AXP).

Vasella served as chief executive and executive member of the board of directors at Novartis for 14 years starting in 1996, and was appointed chairman in April 2010.

"As CEO, and now as chairman, Dan has helped to build one of the world's most respected companies. Under his leadership, Novartis was transformed into a global leader that attracts outstanding talent and sets the standard for the healthcare industry," Kenneth Chenault, the chairman and chief executive officer of American Express said in a press release Friday.

"His business expertise, global perspective and track record of successfully adapting to rapidly changing markets will make him a terrific addition to our board of directors," he added.

Vasella graduated with an M.D. from the University of Bern in Switzerland and completed executive training at Harvard Business School. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Basel.

The newest board member to the credit card company is also a member of the board of directors of PepsiCo and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He's also involved with several other non-profits, industry associations and educational institutions.

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