Servier’s Olivier Laureau: Change Instigator

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Not long ago, Laboratories Servier was considered a somewhat mysterious and opaque actor on the world pharmaceuticals stage. Privately owned, smaller and sleeker than many of its direct competitors, but nonetheless formidably successful, Servier has, for many years, been characterized by its discreet, understated approach and a rugged pragmatism and diligence in ‘just getting on with the job’ well away from the glare of the limelight.

 

I consider empowerment and collaborative work styles to be absolutely fundamental to our efforts to enhance the performance of our organization

These days, under the forward-looking stewardship of Olivier Laureau, the group’s first CEO after founder Jacques Servier, the company has been steadily opening up to the public eye and undergoing a thorough modernization.

 

“In order to secure everyone’s adherence to the important transformation momentum of the Group we rolled out an intense and systematic change management process. Starting in December 2017, we gathered together small groups of three to four hundred that altogether encompassed all 22,000 employees. Every single employee of Servier, whatever his or her function or position, received a thorough induction to our new vocation, values, and vision as well as the journey being undertaken to get there. We finished this massive but absolutely crucial project in December last year. Very few companies have embarked on anything like this in scale and depth,” professes Laureau.

 

Central to this project has been Laureau’s firm belief in engendering a new style of management throughout the workforce. “I consider empowerment and collaborative work styles to be absolutely fundamental to our efforts to enhance the performance of our organization… It is essential for us not only that our teams are passionate about their work itself, but also about how they work! To this end, we have implemented a ‘New Way of Working’ program, which aims to increase our levels of trust, responsibility, delegation, and digitalization, and to implement project-based processes in order to better manage the life of those projects, knowing when we should accelerate them or stop them altogether… Our goal with this is essentially to increase our capacity to arbitrate and enhance the sheer agility of our organization,” he declares.

 

This fresh spirit of openness, inclusivity and co-production even extends outside the company’s walls to the local scientific ecosystem. Servier’s brand new Saclay R&D research centre will be opening its doors by the end of 2021 surrounded by some of the best institutions France has to offer in terms of academic research from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) to universities such as École Polytechnique and École Normale Supérieure.

 

“Sharing the highest levels of knowledge and of know-how is fast becoming a central point in our way of working and reflects our unerring willingness to open up. There will even be an incubator within our Saclay complex where start-ups will have the possibility to both develop their projects but also share their expertise with our teams to create additional cross-fertilization,” promises Laureau. “With this new research centre in this fantastic environment, we are giving ourselves the means to have ever more innovative research, to develop our projects more quickly and efficiently and thus ensure our vocation.”

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