Interview with Gaëlle Waltinger, CEO, Bausch & Lomb Germany

ga-lle-waltinger-ceo.jpgWith a wide experience in other international pharmaceutical companies, what attracted you to come to Bausch&Lomb, the ophthalmology pharma company?

Bausch&Lomb offered me a unique set of challenges and possibilities that no other company could thanks to its own transformations and special needs. Since Bausch&Lomb changed ownership in 2007, our new senior management team decided to change the corporate culture and started to build an international portfolio. The need to transform and modernize was what really attracted me.

What is your strategy to integrate the German subsidiary into Bausch&Lomb’s new global brand and corporate culture building?

Bausch&Lomb’s operations in Germany date back to 1945 when Dr. Mann Pharma was founded; and even though it was acquired by Bausch&Lomb in 1986, Dr. Mann Pharma’s brand was preserved until now. This is great on the one hand because the company has a great reputation internally and externally, but on the other hand many Germans are not familiar with our values, products and services under the strong international brand Bausch&Lomb.

Building an international brand gives great potential. Therefore, our priorities now are to launch global products that will offer our customers the same products Bausch&Lomb offers worldwide. In order to accomplish this, Bausch&Lomb needs to centralize some key positions and integrate the international strategy. This change in organization also comes with the creation of more specialized and integrated activities that will make local production in Berlin more competitive globally and benefit Bausch&Lomb Germany.

How do you plan to better position Bausch&Lomb’s name in the German market while coping with Dr. Mann Pharma brand?

Today, our packagings in the German market are labeled under Dr. Mann Pharma and Bausch&Lomb because the patent holder is Dr. Mann Pharma. There is a lot of work to be done in the coming years to join all brands under the same legal entity of Bausch&Lomb.

Naturally, the strategy will take into account Dr. Mann Pharma’s strong position in the German market. But also the fact that Ophtalmologists are now leaving in a more global environment than 20 years ago and have therefore different expectations and needs. Thinking globally offers more investment possibilities for example and in Europe Bausch&Lomb Pharma has already announced two major Business Development deals this year.

Inside its global restructuration Bausch&Lomb is increasingly expanding its positions in emerging markets. What role will Germany play in the future of the company?

Germany is the number one pharmaceutical market in Europe for Bausch&Lomb. For the future, Bausch&Lomb Germany is committed to maintain its prominent position not only in Europe but globally.

In Bausch&Lomb’s global strategy Berlin will continue as a key site for production and R&D of our products. It’s true that countries in emerging markets are gaining importance as manufacturing hubs. Today Germany is ahead in terms of expertise, and we do not hesitate to cooperate by sending our skilled people to train our counterparts and help them to optimize the business in those countries. This also helps to develop our people.

As a foreigner who came to work in the German pharmaceutical industry, how optimistic are you about the future of the pharmaceutical industry in a country that not long ago was known as the “Pharmacy of the World”?

Germany will hold on to its main competitive advantages which are centered on its highly skilled workforce and on the fact that it is in the heart of the European market.

Germany has educational programs where people obtain deep professional experience while studying. Therefore, Germans are better prepared to apply their fresh knowledge in their first job. We have to emphasize these opportunities for young scientific talents much more than in the past to keep them here because the migration from Germany to other countries, as the US, is a serious challenge.

Given this challenge for Germany we, at Bausch&Lomb Germany, are very proud to have young and passionate people in-house with a great business sense. Our pool of talent is a tremendous asset and the greatest reason why Germany will keep on playing a central role at Bausch&Lomb.

You are a young woman managing one of the main affiliates of Bausch&Lomb; how would you define your management style in order to achieve the success and respect needed for your position?

I’m a believer in teamwork and I’m very straightforward. Most of all, I value the opinion of my colleagues. I’m working closely with my commercial directors, my human resources and finance business partners.

Managing a pharma company in a demanding market like Germany requests a highly responsible and professional team. My job is to recruit the best individuals to make our strategy happen, and to make sure we have the right tools and processes to become highly effective and successful.

As the head of Bausch&Lomb Germany, what would be your final message to the readers of Pharmaceutical Executive about the company’s future ambitions and opportunities?

Within our strategy Bausch&Lomb Germany will be back to strong growth before 2013. Our confidence is built upon the quality of our team and the pool of young talents joining the company.

We are also working on partnership deals with eye healthcare practitioners to offer a breadth of outstanding products that will dramatically improve the vision and lives of people.

Bausch&Lomb is the perfect opportunity for young people looking for a great managerial experience and eager to bring visionary ideas to eyes health.


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