The Ideal Pharma Country Manager: Turkey (Stanton Chase)


Şükran Tümay, a senior partner at executive search and assessment firm Stanton Chase in Turkey, highlights the evolving profiles she looks for when hiring country managers for healthcare and the life sciences companies in the dynamic Turkish market.


What are the qualities you look for in a Country Manager?

The role of the country manager is evolving towards being the face and owner of the roadmap to provide solid partnerships with external stakeholders

Over the last few years, we have observed a shift towards dexterity in health economics and market access in addition to commercial strength. As companies venture into building joint patient advocacy projects with various authorities, the role of the country manager is evolving towards being the face and owner of the roadmap to provide solid partnerships with external stakeholders. On the other hand, Turkey’s rapidly changing environment, calls for agility and transformational leaders to adapt to the fast-changing business climate and stand strong while dealing with ambiguity.

As it is with all sectors, the effects of digital transformation demand out of the box thinkers and visionaries who can communicate clearly and create engagement to provide effective leadership across the business on multi-channel strategy and governance.


Is there an ideal profile/professional pathway?

Not anymore, we have been witnessing a gradual transition towards a focus on skills rather than experience in specific functions over the last few years which naturally implies that what we look out for in profiles now is quite different to what was important 10 years ago. Today, most pharmaceuticals companies are aiming to expand their talent pools for country manager roles by engaging their people to gain diversified experiences in different functions as well as geographies.

Among all factors that we stated above, the competency set is the key factor and it includes strategic orientation, collaboration and change management along with driving innovation.


Which are the main challenges they’ll need to be ready to address?

Turkey is a challenging market in terms of frequent policy changes and pricing. Country managers should not be reluctant to keep the organization adaptable in this fast-changing environment by quickly responding to the changes in the marketplace.

In this competitive environment, country managers have the ultimate responsibility for preparing their organizations in terms of talent management, digitalization and following the new market trends closely to build a sustainable organization. In this respect, demonstrating multi-dimensional leadership, developing empowered teams and corporate cultures based on shared values and accountability will be their key aspects.

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