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Merck Serono continues impressive standard in gender diversity

Authored by Karl Simpson

Merck Serono has quickly become a standard-bearer for gender diversity in the pharmaceutical sector. In recent studies it has been shown that the pharmaceutical sector is beginning to fair well relative to other industrial sectors when it comes to appointing women onto executive teams. However, the evidence also proves there is considerable room for improvement in many areas of the sector and on the management teams of many of the global leaders in the pharma sector. Merck Serono is a company blazing a trail for others to follow. The company, which is the biologics unit of Merck KGaA, has been very progressive in this respect and has a leadership team which boasts several women.

The company’s CEO is Dr. Belen Garijo and the Head of R&D, Annalisa Jenkins, recently shortlisted by HBA as woman of the year. With Susan Herbet leading Global Business Development and the recently appointed Elcin Ergun who will Head Global Commercial after internal promotion, the company has now announced a further female appointment in Meeta Gulyani, who will join the company as the Head of Strategy and Global Franchises. Reporting to Dr. Garijo, Mrs. Gulyani will be responsible for leading the franchises of MS, Immunology, Oncology, Fertility, General Medicine and Endocrinology, as well as Medical Devices.

By any measure this is an impressive departure from the male-oriented status quo which has dominated global businesses in the pharmaceutical sector. Much is often made of the argument that women who are successful in reaching the top of organisations are not good at leaving the ladder down for other women to climb up and join them. Clearly Dr. Belen Garijo has been very much an advocate of gender diversity in her organisation and the current rich mixture of women executives she now has fulfilling her executive committee is to be highly commended. We hope that this is a catalyst for other companies to follow suit and to be equally positive towards fulfilling executive positions with female candidates.

In a recent report, Liftstream looked at 20 executive women who were driving the European life sciences field. The infographic can be viewed here

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