Life Sciences and Healthcare Search Activity Remained Robust During Pandemic Year


Hunt Scanlon Media | March 11, 2021

The Hunt Scanlon article, "Life Sciences and Healthcare Search Activity Remained Robust During Pandemic Year​," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Dana Krueger on the pandemic's effect on the healthcare industry. The article is excerpted below.

As we round the corner to close out Q1, the economic picture seems to be slowly improving. But what is going to light the match in the last three quarters of 2021? For executive recruiters, life sciences and healthcare organizations hold keys to the answer. Eager for investment, far more resilient than the S&P 500 during the crisis, and poised for a coming sea of divestitures, the life sciences space has boundless energy and pent-up talent demand – just as many organizations are getting the attention, and financing, from private equity firms seeking value investments. It also happened to be the one sector that accelerated during the pandemic year.

Embracing 'Leadership Span'

“Executive search has been very active in the healthcare space since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dana Krueger, leader of global healthcare business at Russell Reynolds Associates. “Initially there was some pause as the sector was singularly focused on battling COVID-19 on the front lines. In the first weeks and months of the pandemic, we observed some strategic pivots and tactical maneuvers undertaken by healthcare companies. But this pause in executive search was temporary.”

In fact, she said, for some parts of the sector, 2020 turned out to be a record- breaking year, including the venture, IPO and M&A worlds despite virtual due diligence and negotiations. “Overall, there has been a steady if not accelerated demand for leadership within healthcare/life sciences to help navigate the crisis and lead in the new reality,” she added.

In this period of step-change, leaders need to be even more agile while maintaining a laser-focus on the long-term vision and outcome. “As sustainability has emerged as the leadership imperative of our time, the best leaders in the healthcare/life sciences space have been able to ‘see the forest for the trees’ and anchor their business vision and strategy firmly in the purpose of their firm,” Ms. Krueger said. “Overall, leaders that focus on results with respect to people, planet and profit will not only thrive but have the greatest impact within and beyond their singular firms. For CEOs and senior executives to succeed, we have been talking about ‘agility’ as a critical leadership competency for some time in the context of the VUCA world that has emerged in the last decade.”

“While the dynamic nature and unpredictability of the external environment has accelerated to an even more frenetic level with COVID-19, the pandemic has also added a significant and important new dimension to the leadership challenge, namely, that of building and leading organizational culture and development in a virtual setting,” Ms. Krueger said. “The most effective leaders of today embrace their ‘leadership span’—namely, their ability to be strategic yet practical, risk tolerant within the context of the experiment at hand, leading from the front while allowing leaders to emerge and have impact independent of hierarchy, and, above all, be inclusive, open and authentic in every engagement and relationship.”

To read the full article, click here​.

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Life Sciences and Healthcare Search Activity Remained Robust During Pandemic Year