Franz Humer stepped down as CEO of Roche on Tuesday passing over his duties to Severin Schwan, former head of the company's diagnostics unit.
Humer's resignation of duties was first announced in July 2007. He leaves behind a legacy of growth at Roche, helping the Swiss drugmaker become an industry leader in Europe.
Humer, a native of Austria, worked for Schering-Plough and GlaxoSmithKline before joining Roche in 1995. He became CEO three years later.
Humer is credited with helping the company grow by establishing partnerships with biotech firms Genentech and Chugai and shepherding blockbusters MabThera, Avastin and Herceptin.
Humer will remain Roche's chairman and will also take the position of chairman at beverage company Diageo.
Incoming CEO Schwan said in his first speech as CEO that he plans to continue Roche's push into personalized medicine.
"Personalized medicine means that we can develop drugs which are more effective, safer and ultimately also more cost-effective," Schwan said during the company's annual meeting of shareholders.
Schwan also said that under his leadership, Roche will continue to be opposed to merging with another large pharma.