In the last fifteen years, there has been a significant change in the Biotechnology segment and the managers it has required. Historically, all companies started commercial activities after having done it in the other major European markets: Germany, United Kingdom, France, and Italy. The profile of the CEO, in many cases, required the skills of a commercial director, plus an experience in Regulatory and/or Communication. This is how Genzyme, Gilead, Amgen and many others began at the time.
Some Technology Parks, such as the University of Barcelona or Tres Cantos, host dozens of companies that begin their journey in a world in which they compete on a global scale from the first day. We will deal with the competences of that CEO, since they can serve as a reference to help us develop the necessary and valued experiences to occupy senior positions in emerging companies, such as managers and CEOs.
Motivations that Remain:
Some motivations have not changed in the CEO’s performance in emerging companies, with respect to established corporations. And we made it clear that we are talking about managers/employees and not founders/entrepreneurs, although sometimes, it may be the case that they coincide.
The first thing that has not changed in the life of the CEO of an emerging company is “the reward”: shaping, creating and building success. The emotion of knowing that we have done it, that we have created something where there was only one idea. The reward that comes with the responsibility of achievement is clear and unequivocal. As the CEO of an emerging company, do not get carried away by the history, infrastructure, experience and resources of a Novartis, GSK, Pfizer or BMS; you do it yourself, and the corresponding re-compensates is much greater: it is the satisfaction of creating and shaping from nothing.
But there is also frustration. The CEO is not always the founder, and he inherits the mistakes, sometimes the broken dreams of the founder and often even the disappointment of the investors. There is a well-known joke about a man going to Ireland and asking another how to get to Dublin. The sarcastic Irishman replies: “If I went to Dublin, I would not start from here” The CEO of a company still in the making, which may have inherited the failed plan of another person, feels just like that. Time and Resources are the most significant differences between the CEO of an established company and an emerging company: there is never enough time or enough resources.
As the juggler of a Chinese circus that rotates dishes simultaneously, the CEO of an established laboratory can employ an army of dish-makers to help him. In fact, he may not know much about turning dishes; his knowledge is about organization and delegation. But the CEO of an emerging company must be a “doer” and must be prepared to deal with problems that others cannot solve constantly; must fight to buy time for planning work, not related to the “fire-fighting” crisis. That CEO can become an individual orchestra, but he is still required to produce an excellent music program in front of a critical and demanding audience.