Yesterday, Dr. Christoph Franz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding Ltd, sat down with Professor Pedro Santa Clara and shared some thought-provoking insights with us about the necessary management and leadership qualities in this highly uncertain world. He shared personal examples of his career in different industries ranging from low-margin high volume businesses in logistics, to high-margin and high ethical responsibility companies in pharmaceuticals.
Learning how to collaborate, present, and meet audience expectations are the most important career development qualities students should improve during their academic studies. Beyond that, soft leadership skills are more effective than forceful leadership models. Even though, as he admits, the soft leadership style has not yet reached all departments of the pharmaceutical and healthcare business, it has proven to be more efficient from his experiences. He believes that by encouraging colleagues to be convinced of what they are doing, they are far more likely to follow through with the given mission.
To stay motivated at work and reach a leadership position, he says that it is necessary to remain intrinsically curious to always learn new things, be flexible and willing to face challenging situations in life. It is also important to be truly interested in the work of your colleagues. He highlights the importance of not being afraid to make decisions, even if not all the information is available. That is a good thing when you are facing difficult situations, because from time to time mistakes are made – mistakes happen. These should be seen as opportunities to grow. This is especially the case in the pharmaceutical industry, where it is essential to keep innovating despite the high probability of failure.
Regarding the future of the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Franz emphasized the importance of continuously innovating. Despite political changes, the innovation premiums in the USA are a crucial driver of global progress in the pharmaceutical industry. It is clear that the innovative pharmaceutical industry is a business that bears a high social responsibility to save and improve people’s lives, beyond the existing monetary incentives. He emphasized the uniquely large share of family-owned stocks of Roche, to prove how appreciated the incentive of sustainable value creation is, unlike the myopic actions of the decision-makers of this company.
Due to the ending of patent-life and increasing competitiveness in the market, based on entering biosimilars and generics, Roche has been experiencing a period of decreasing stock performance. Dr. Franz, however, is very positive and states that there are sufficient new products in the pipeline for Roche to regain its good performance and maintain its outstanding track record of 30 consecutive years of increasing dividend payments to its shareholders.
We thank Dr. Franz for taking his time to share his life and career knowledge with us. We will always keep in mind that Dr. Christoph Franz’s purpose in life is “creating innovative solutions help improve and save lives”.
Check the gallery bellow to see more of this unique event.
*This article was written by Jacqueline Hauptmann and edited by Nova SBE. Jacqueline is a Double Degree MSc Economics student from Nova SBE and Maastricht University. She is from Germany and she is currently working on her Master thesis, entitled Determinants of Technological Innovation leading to Healthcare Expenditure Growth in OECD countries. She attended Dr. Christoph Franz’s Masterclass last October 24th and shared with us the most important and unforgettable topics that he discussed about career development, leadership challenges and the qualifications needed in the workplace.
Thank you for your contribution, Jacqueline.