written on 14.12.2010
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Interview with Hiro Fukutomi, Managing Director, Takeda UK

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What is the importance of the UK operations for Takeda worldwide?

Our UK operation was established in 1997 and is relatively younger than other affiliates in Europe such as Takeda Italy, Germany and France. However our revenue has been almost tripled in five years with the great success of Amias (Candesartan) and Actos (Pioglitazone) , and the UK operation is now one of the most important affiliates for Takeda Europe and Takeda Global.

Having a strong presence in the UK is strategically important for all of the pharmaceutical companies and it is the same for Takeda.

How does Takeda UK manage such growth in a sophisticated market like the UK?

We have an excellent culture which embraces self-questioning, encourages out-of-box ideas and allows staff to make mistakes.

We are always learning and getting better day by day. “Agility and Flexibility” are key words for our success. In order to compete against big pharma, we need to be creative, agile and flexible. Speed of response is quite important so we do not miss any business opportunities.

With the changes in the NHS structure, PCTs will disappear, and GP commissioning will be put in place. How do you believe this will affect your RAD model?

In essence, I do not think that we need to change our model completely. I believe that our model will still work nicely in the new environment. Our expertise which has been developed through so many joint working projects with PCTs will surely work well with the newly established GP consortia.

What approach does Takeda have to attract and keep the best personnel?

One thing which might be unique in Takeda is that everyone can enjoy broader responsibilities and autonomies. You have lots of opportunity to expand your experience in this organisation, as you need to be a multi-task player in our lean organisation. As there is less bureaucracy here, everyone can be a decision maker in Takeda.

In addition to individual development programs locally organized in UK, Takeda has Global/European programs; the Takeda Leadership Institutes. The purpose of these programs is to develop the future talents who will lead our business in the future. It is also quite beneficial to have a network within Global/European Takeda.

How do you position Takeda here in the UK?

Our mission statement will be the answer to this question.

“We are an ethical pharmaceutical company committed to improving patients’ lives and proud of both our local innovation and Japanese heritage. In the rapidly changing healthcare environment, our success will be driven by optimising the potential of our people, products and partnerships, delivered through our agile and flexible approach.”

You have been with the company for over 20 years. What has been most rewarding about your experience?

The last 10 years have been truly exciting for me, as I have been able to see closely our business success in Europe and US, and even to be a part of this success albeit only slightly.

Before I assumed my current role in 2009, I had worked for Takeda Pharmaceuticals Europe; Commercial Headquarters in London, and I was engaged in opening new affiliates in Spain and Portugal from scratch. It was an exciting experience and something that one cannot experience in an already globalised company.

What do you bring to your role here in the UK?

Bringing something related to Japan? No. I do not think that it is a good idea to emphasize Japan/being Japanese too much.

One thing I always refer to, and everyone in this organisation is fully aware of, is Takeda-ism. The core of Takeda-ism is ‘Integrity.’ It refers to our compliance with the highest ethical standards, our ‘fairness ‘and ‘honesty’ in conducting every activity, and our ‘perseverance’ in pursuing the ideal forms for our operations and management.

Every year in June, we hold “Founder’s Day” to celebrate the foundation of Takeda over 230 years ago and through various activities during this event, everyone including myself reconfirm what Takeda-ism is and how to put it into practice in our day to day business and personal life.

In three year’s time, what will we see from you, and from Takeda UK?

One of the key themes of Global Takeda is “transformation into the New Takeda” and this is applicable to our UK operation. Two primary care products which have driven our success so far will lose data exclusivity in 12-18months, then we will be launching several new products in Specialty and Oncology areas in addition to a couple of primary care products. This will be an exciting journey for us and we are confident that we will be successful with our unique business model.

What is your final message to the international readers of Pharmaceutical Executive?

In Takeda UK, “win-win-win” is a key for success. Win for patients, win for healthcare professionals, and win for Takeda. Just having one or two win(s) will not bring us a real success, we must have all three. So, even in such a challenging situation, we aspire to attain these three wins—and see the smiles of all of the stakeholders.

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