Transforming pharma leadership


The Pharma Letter | September 28, 2017

The Pharma Letter article, “Transforming pharma leadership,” authored by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Waseem Noor explains pharma leadership changes over the years and discusses instituting three categories of leadership to navigate a rapidly evolving landscape. The article is excerpted below. 

The leadership profile of the typical pharma company in the 1980s was clear – it was built on the direction of the chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief strategy and head of research and development (R&D), supported by the work of regional and business unit heads, and steered by the chief executive.

Tighter industry regulation in the 1990s sparked the first shake-up in pharma leadership, when specialists began joining traditional managers at the helm of the pharma company through direct recruitment or internal promotion.

The chief medical officer brought the voice of the patient into the C-suite, and the chief quality officer began engendering a culture beyond basic compliance demanding continuous improvement in the patient’s interest through top-level accountability.

The more recent wave of regulatory pressure, however, is giving rise to a much more dramatic change in the pharma leadership profile. The 2000s have been characterized by regulations pressuring pharma companies to make patient outcomes a central part of drug approval. Today, purchasing power is shifting from physicians toward patients and payors, and digitization is a powerful catalyst to this change.

Given these pharmaco-economic movements, pharma companies now must take a more aggressive approach to leadership rather than the incremental changes taken in the past.

By institutionalizing three categories of leadership in the C-suite – transformation leaders, ecosystem leaders, and enabling leaders – pharma companies can get in front of the rapid developments occurring in the industry and position themselves to adapt to and thrive in an increasingly dynamic market.

To read the full article​​, click here.

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Transforming pharma leadership