Business Managers from Lundbeck, LEO Pharma, Shire and Quintiles have shown how they are successfully negotiating the changing healthcare environment and developing new relationships with the NHS by winning PharmaTimes’ Business Manager of the Year competition last night at the Royal College of Physicians.

Lundbeck was named Sales Company of the Year and Commercial Team of the Year, with the company’s Paul Cook winning the Senior Team Leader category. Kathryn Loines of Quintiles was named Aspiring Team Leader, Dave Bousfield of Shire won the Key Account Manager category, and LEO Pharma bagged the RBM Team title.  

More than 30 finalists from eighteen companies took part in the re-launched competition, which benchmarks individuals and teams against each other in a role-play situation based on current healthcare trends. The competition is judged by an expert panel of industry and NHS leaders.

The challenges to test the finalists focused on motivating a team through change and responding to a fictitious clinical commissioning group invitation to tender. The finals took place at Quintiles in Reading in September, with the day being run by the MSI Consultancy.

Jonathan Dancer, managing partner at the MSI Consultancy, and one of the competition sponsors, noted how the winners’ approach stood out from the other teams. “Some of the teams were extremely measured in their approach, while others were more likely just to throw everything at it. The new environment certainly favours the former rather than the latter and this was also true of the simulation.”

Nick Spruce, business development director at Binley’s, and one of the competition sponsors, said the competition highlighted the strengths of many individuals working in this sector. “Strong business leaders help their companies navigate through the complexities, continue to motivate team members and grow their products, all the while improving patient care. We have seen some excellent examples of individuals who operate at a very high level in this environment, which is very reassuring for the future of pharma.”

This was echoed by Simon Couldstone, marketing director at Chase, and one of the competition sponsors. “I think it is important for people to realise that while there might be lower numbers of traditional RBM roles versus five years ago, there are new and exciting opportunities emerging all the time, and as long as people are open to change, they will flourish. In challenging times like this we need people who can stay focused and optimistic and lead by example and help people change and adapt. This event is a great way for those people who want to get ahead to really stand out from their peers and show they have what it takes to deliver commercial excellence both today and in the future in any leadership role.”

In addition, Simon Brander, managing director of CSL, and a competition sponsors, noted how the key account management model is beginning to make inroads into pharma. “Feedback from NHS customers is clear: ‘you should know what I need, so tell me how you can help me’. What the PharmaTimes competition does is identify those people who “get” what KAM really is, take them outside their normal comfort zones, and within this sub group find out who the stars are.”

Sandra Whitehead, director of training, corporate governance and EU compliance at Quintiles, one of the competition sponsors, said the competition recognises the hugely important role of the business manager. “The role of the business manager is not straightforward and, in many companies, it embraces dual roles – manager and player.  Maintaining team optimisation through change is challenging. That, combined with the need for a team approach with many NHS customer types, makes the value proposition and team coaching high priorities.”  

The dinner reception also included speeches from Gordon Coutts, chief executive of Colchester NHS Trust, Jonathan Dancer, managing partner, the MSI Consultancy, and Roy Carlisle, PharmaSolutions, who discussed the notion of delivering value to multiple stakeholder groups.

For a full list of finalists and photographs please visit:

PharmaTimes would like to thank our sponsors: Quintiles, Binley’s, CSL, the MSI Consultancy, and Chase.