Daniel Vasella, chairman and chief executive of Novartis, should not have accepted a $78m payment, according to th Financial Times (here).

Mr Vasella “has agreed to continue to make available his knowhow to Novartis and to refrain from activities that compete with any business of Novartis for a multiyear period.” That reads like a sweeping gag order, says the FT.

“The loser, though, is the pharmaceutical industry,” says FT. “After 17 years in charge, there is little more he can offer Novartis. His wealth of experience would be better employed advising start-ups and on new drug development. Instead, it will be preserved in aspic inside Novartis.”

I thought the “preserved in aspic” comment deserved a visual rendering:

I’m not sure what the shelf-life of foods preserved in aspic is, but Vasella’s shelf-life deal runs for 6 years.

Update: The shelf-life turned out to be less than 1 day! See “Novartis Board of Directors and Dr. Daniel Vasella agree to cancel the non-compete agreement and all related compensation” (here). The decision, Novartis said, was taken “to address concerns of stakeholders.” But I think the image of Vasella preserved in Aspic is what did the deal in. Talk about an image worth a thousand words… the above image may have been worth $78 million!