We have made good progress as a company in the past year – despite the pandemic which continues to impact the world and challenges in meeting the unprecedented demand for our new obesity treatment. We continued to broaden our technology platforms and product pipeline to strengthen the basis for long-term growth whilst investing significantly in expanding our future production capacity.

Helge Lund, Novo Nordisk Chair of the Board of Directors

Our long-standing aspiration of creating value for society and for our future business is more relevant than ever, given the mounting threats to people's lives and livelihoods posed by the health and environmental challenges dominating today's global agenda. The past two years have underscored the essential role of science in tackling these challenges, whether managing a rogue virus or reducing emissions. 

Continued investment in innovation is vital for patients, the future of our company and for the wider benefits we can offer to society. It is therefore gratifying to see the strides that have been made in 2021 with the launch of new products - most notably Wegovy® for obesity. Production challenges meant that we struggled to meet the high patient demand for the treatment - a situation that served to underline the vital importance of investments made in our global production capacity during 2021. 

The opportunity for the coming years is to execute on the commercial potential of our innovative, new treatments while ensuring that as many people as possible have access to quality medicines. At the same time, we must succeed in developing the medicines of the future. This means looking beyond our existing focus areas and our successful GLP-1 molecule semaglutide, towards other therapy areas and new technology platforms to address unmet medical needs related to serious chronic diseases. 

To serve more patients with high quality medicines and to continue to grow sustainably, we will evolve and challenge ourselves in how we work and innovate. This also entails combining our company's deep in-house expertise with the best science from outside, through partnerships with other businesses, with universities around the world and with research institutions. If we succeed, Novo Nordisk will look very different a decade from now, by which time we will not only be serving people living with diabetes and obesity but also making a positive impact in new therapeutic areas.

Our stable ownership structure with the Novo Nordisk Foundation as the main shareholder will help in this transition by supporting us through investment in research and development for the long-term while maintaining a focus on high quality operations and financial performance.

We must also ensure that Novo Nordisk has a diverse and truly inclusive culture if we are to become a better and more innovative company. With this in mind, we have set new 2025 aspirational targets for achieving a balanced gender representation across managerial levels. We believe that this will also stimulate and inspire the work we are doing to enhance other diversity dimensions. 

At Board level, we are also committed to ensuring strong diversity and having the right competences to meet future challenges. In 2021, the Board was delighted to welcome the election of Henrik Paulsen, whose deep experience in corporate transformations and strong ESG credentials will be invaluable. I would also like to thank Brian Daniels and Liz Hewitt, who stepped down from the Board in 2021 , for their significant contributions to Novo Nordisk.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all Novo Nordisk employees for their dedication and contribution to the good operational and strategic progress in 2021; to CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen and his team for their leadership and to our shareholders and other stakeholders for continued support. 

Helge Lund
Chair of the Board of Directors