The Middle East: Stepping Stone to Global Leadership

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PharmaBoardroom highlights three pharma executives whose experience in the Middle East has served to propel them into global leadership positions.

 

The Middle East and North Africa region is comprised of 22 countries and has a population of nearly 400 million. The region is home to a fast-growing pharma market reaching a value of USD 25 billion in 2018, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria and UAE boasting double-digit growth rates. Lifestyle changes are leading to an increasing rate of noncommunicable diseases, which is creating significant unmet patient needs.  

Leadership positions in multinational pharma companies in the Middle East come with complex challenges, particularly when overseeing diverse multi-country regions with unique political situations and regulatory requirements. PharmaBoardroom has spoken with three pharma country managers who, at one point in their careers, managed entire Middle Eastern regions and are currently leveraging their experience in global leadership positions. 

 

Pius Hornstein, Sanofi

 

I have been blessed to change physical locations eight times, across different countries, continents, cultures and roles, experiencing different challenges and new horizons.

Pius Hornstein, Sanofi

 

Pius Hornstein is currently the Country Chair at Sanofi China, after having served as general manager at Sanofi Brazil for four years. Prior to Brazil, Hornstein held the position of Vice President of Turkey and the Middle East, where he was responsible for pharma operations in 17 countries.

When PharmaBoardroom spoke to Hornstein in China this year, he talked highly of his international experience: “Having been with Sanofi for many years, I am very passionate about working at Sanofi. I firmly believe that a company is only as good as you want to make it and in my time with Sanofi, I have been blessed to change physical locations eight times, across different countries, continents, cultures and roles, experiencing different challenges and new horizons.”

Read the full interview with Pius Hornstein

 

Giles Platford, Takeda

 

From a management standpoint, I believe there are strong grounds to look at Emerging Markets as one whole region.

Giles Platford, Takeda

 

Giles Platford is the president of Europe and Canada for Takeda and has held various positions within the company for the past eight years. Platford spent one of those eight years as Area Head of the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, responsible for compliance and control as well as re-engineering the business, which led to significant growth.

When PharmaBoardroom talked to Platford in Singapore in his role as president of emerging markets for Takeda back in 2016, he emphasized the importance of emerging markets as fertile ground for gaining global experience, “From a management standpoint, I believe there are strong grounds to look at Emerging Markets as one whole region. Although these countries are extremely individual in nature and lack the homogeneity of Europe, the sheer level of diversity and complexities actually introduces certain commonalities that you can leverage in terms of leadership styles and management capabilities.”

Read the full interview with Giles Platford

 

Walid Kattouha, Novartis

 

Most people believe that the Middle East markets are all the same, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Walid Kattouha, Novartis

 

Walid Kattouha is the Global Business Franchise Head at Novartis, a position he has held since 2005. His first nine years with Novartis were spent leading the Middle East, first as Region Head of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and then president and head of the Middle East & North Africa cluster.

When we spoke to Kattouha back in 2013, he expanded on his extensive experience, reflecting on challenges faced in the region: “Overall the underlying challenge for the Middle Eastern region comes down to improving access to treatments. This is particularly important at this time when lifestyles are changing across the region, and diseases related to these changes, such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes are becoming more prevalent.” 

Kattouha went on to highlight the diversity in the region, “Most people believe that the Middle East markets are all the same, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many specific characteristics to each market, due to their political situation and history, which require us to operate very differently from one country to the next. It is this adaptability that makes a real difference when it comes to the success of a company in the region. This is why local knowledge is essential to succeed in these markets. One advantage of the region is that we can learn from our lessons in other markets around the world and tailor those strategies to specific situations and conditions in the region.”

Read the full interview with Walid Kattouha

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