As Takeda absorbs Shire’s R&D ops, the focus is on replacing a centralized command model with a ‘light touch’ in a restructured global organization
At Takeda, one of the top priorities in the R&D group since the $62 billion acquisition of Shire closed at the beginning of the year has been centered on creating a shared culture — and that calls for some group activities.
Six weeks after the deal closed, Takeda’s top brass brought together 150 research group chiefs in San Diego to start the process. And they were back together again last week to review the progress to date.
“Shire was working much more in a centralized model,” where a group working with CEO Flemming Ornskov called the shots, says Georgia Keresty.
Keresty was hired away from J&J as R&D COO just months before the deal was announced in 2018. It was a complete surprise, with a challenge of a lifetime built in.
Shire’s operating model was “very, very different” from the Takeda way, she says, where the emphasis under R&D chief Andy Plump has been on a “light touch,” empowering teams in a decentralized fashion.
“For R&D the goal was to get us back to do what we do everyday,” says Keresty, “to develop products.”
I talked to Keresty about her work over H1. While Plump, an articulate champion of the company’s research organization in the more than 4 years he’s been R&D chief under CEO Christophe Weber, has plenty of say about the organization they’re creating, it’s Keresty’s role to manage the nitty-gritty work in hammering out the new structure. Defining success in a “transformative” merger like this is one thing, but making it happen — getting the pieces to fit together — is something else. And there are few challenges bigger than bringing two R&D organizations with widely disparate organizations together into one.
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