Features
January / February 2020

Introducing Industry Leader Profile Articles

Susan Sandler
Introducing Industry Leaders

With the start of the new year, Pharmaceutical Engineering® is launching a new series of profiles of industry leaders. This ongoing series will look at the lives and careers of individuals who are changing the face of the pharmaceutical industry.

What Is an Industry Leader?

An article published by McKinsey & Company a little over a year ago reported on survey research investigating what life science executives think is needed for successful leadership heading into the future1. The findings offer a good starting point for understanding what makes an exceptional leader serving the changing pharmaceutical industry. “Successful life-science organizations will look very different in the future than they do today,” the authors noted. “They likely will be smaller; more specialized, automated, digital, and agile in their operations; more sophisticated in their commercial approaches; and more integrated with providers, partners, and consumers.”

The McKinsey research identified five “distinctive muscles” that leaders will need:

  • An adaptive mindset: Being able to deal with ambiguity and adaptive challenges where there are no already known solutions—such as developing new therapies—will be important. Exceptional problem-solving skills and risk tolerance are needed for future-oriented leadership.
  • 3D savviness: Data, design, and digital (the three Ds) and keeping up with change require leaders to build knowledge about advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the cloud and DevOps, and digital product management.
  • Partnership skills: Leaders are expected to join forces with various partners, including patients, vendors, and health systems, and they need to look outside the pharma industry for inspiration and strong business development.
  • Agile ways of working: Agility is key to survival in a changing world.
  • A balanced field of vision: The ability to balance growth and efficiency was the final leadership trait identified by the research.

ISPE and Leadership

The industry leaders profiled in this issue and those who will be profiled in upcoming issues of Pharmaceutical Engineering® all display these leadership traits—even though their journeys to develop as leaders have varied greatly. Investment and participation in ISPE is a common theme in every profile: the industry leaders consistently acknowledge and appreciate the value of ISPE membership, noting that the learning, bonds formed with others, and friendships have helped them become the leaders they are today and for the future.

The industry leaders profiled in this issue, Ranjana Pathak and Christian Wölbeling, come from different regions and cultures, and have taken differing paths to leadership success. They share a commitment to the industry and to ISPE, and both are dedicated to continuing to make contributions for the good of the industry that serves patient health.

The science and technology that are the regular focus of Pharmaceutical Engineering® content constitute part of the story of achievement and moving the industry ahead—the people in this industry and their commitment to excellence are the other side of the story. We hope you enjoy getting to know these leaders and their accomplishments in this issue and upcoming issues of Pharmaceutical Engineering®.


Ranjana B. Pathak

Industry Leaders: An Advocate for Quality

Ranjana B. Pathak, BSc (Hons), MBA, DHA, has spent nearly 40 years in the pharmaceutical industry. Currently the President and Global Head of Quality, Medical Affairs, and Pharmacovigilance at Cipla Ltd. in Mumbai, India, Pathak’s long tenure has afforded her an informed perspective on the past, present, and future of the industry.


Christian Wölbeling

Industry Leaders: Bringing Pharma 4.0 Into the World

Every important cause needs its champion. Champions have a vision of how things should be, and a passion to reach their goals. They are committed and determined to achieve positive results, are willing to do the heavy lifting, and will take consistent and massive action until results are achieved.