What Does It Really Take? - Pharmaceutical Executive

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What Does It Really Take?
A military historian once said that a great commander must show himself to his followers only through a mask—a mask that marks him as the leader they need. Today, pharma leaders, behind their masks, must possess a certain substance.


Pharmaceutical Executive


6. Fighting the Talent Wars

Consider the challenge facing Genentech, which in the coming year, must bring aboard nearly 2,500 people. But where to find them? Talent is in scarce supply, and qualified employees are commanding premium salaries, a boatload of fringes, and ideal working conditions. Today, the average tenure of the American worker is a mere four to five years. In the talent wars for the best minds, only those companies that go beyond a gilded compensation package—providing a sense of purpose, a dynamic leader, and a culture where people are valued and mentored—will be able to attract and retain winners.

Given the witch's brew of challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry—without even touching on FDA—it's imperative that companies determine methods for distinguishing great leaders from the pack. Leadership styles abound, but some are especially suited for trying times. Turn the page to uncover

10 Traits for Tough Times

1. The Shrewd Dealmaker


The best M&A deal in the history of pharma was probably Roche?'s 60 percent acquisition of Genentech. Roche paid $2 billion for 60 percent of the company. Today, it owns 60 percent of Genentech's $75 billion market cap. Rodney A. Ferguson
In today's environment, a successful leader can't be a specialist. "The new CEO must be a renaissance person—someone who is an expert in marketing, fundraising, legal issues, and, above all, putting together business deals," says Mel Engle, president and CEO of Dey LP.

Rodney A. Ferguson, partner, J.P. Morgan Partners, believes there are two kinds of successful leaders in healthcare today. The first, like Art Levinson of Genentech, is the rare technical genius who excels at coming up with first-in-class therapeutics to create robust pipelines. The second—and a bit more common—are business masterminds who can craft brilliant deals, like the one Henry Meyer conceived and negotiated between Roche and Genentech.


Successful leaders must be experts in marketing, fundraising, legal issues, and, above all, putting together business deals. Mel Engle
"The best M&A deal in the history of pharma was probably Roche's [1999] acquisition of Genentech," Ferguson says. "They paid $2 billion for 60 percent of the company. Today, they own 60 percent of its $75 billion market cap and most non-US rights to Genentech products." Ferguson believes Pfizer's Hank McKinnell is another M&A genius, with the ability to nose out deals, such as those with Pharmacia and Warner-Lambert, which gave Pfizer the late-stage drugs that made the company a leader in statins.

2. The Careful Risk Taker


Guidant's former CEO, Ron Dollens, made decisions quickly, sometimes with only a modest amount of data. He often went out on a limb, but more often than not, he made the right call. He knew more than anyone else in management. about what was going on in the operating units of his companies. Joe Mandato
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Moving a company in a new direction is always dicey, but perhaps less so than remaining frozen in place. Not that today's effective leader must become a Monte Carlo-style risk taker. "You don't want the wild card, someone who will throw money at the hottest new thing without thinking about risk," says Scott Morrison, US life sciences practice leader at Ernst & Young (E&Y). "You need someone who will only take strategic, calculated risks."

Successful risk takers get the opinions of thought leaders and experts, and draw on their own relevant experiences. They subject the data to long, hard analysis before making a move.


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