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Mayoly Spindler’s Stéphane Thiroloix: More on What CEOs Expect from Alliance Management

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Friday, September 9, 2016

Yesterday, Mayoly Spindler’s CEO Stéphane Thiroloix kicked off the opening plenary of the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. His hour-long presentation and Q&A discussion riveted attendees and teed up key themes for the remainder of the three-day event at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, which was attended by more than 150 life sciences and healthcare partnering executives from around the world. A perennial topic of discussion among alliance execs, regardless of industry, has been how to make what alliance executives do top-of-mind in the C-suite—and how to educate and influence senior executives on how better to leverage alliance management to support the company’s strategic goals. Thiroloix’s talk resonated—because he truly “gets” alliance management and how it fits into an organization. 

Thiroloix has pushed to expand the role of alliance management in Mayoly Spindler, which focuses on gastroenterology and dermocosmetics—so he’s a fan of alliance management and argues that it now plays “a central role in what we do in the healthcare industry.” He’s also crystal clear on what he expects from alliance executives—and what he doesn’t want. I talked to several veteran chief alliance officers who described it as perhaps the best presentation they’ve heard at an ASAP conference, and as I’m writing this blog during the closing session of the conference, attendees are still exclaiming the value of this session for them. 

Check out our earlier coverage of his plenary talk as well as my colleague Cynthia B. Hanson’s strikingly thoughtful Q&A blog post with Thiroloix in August. And here are more nuggets of insight Thiroloix offered during his session: 

  • Align with C-suite processes. “Use the C-suite’s governance [process]. If you can fit your into the normal C-suite governance agenda, it’s better. Be part of the monthly meeting, versus scheduling an alliance meeting the C-suite.”
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. “Alliances are complex. The rest of my life is also, so don’t expect me to memorize, remind me again, even if it feels incredibly basic. I will stop you if I don’t need more information.”
  • Be specific and don’t assume knowledge. “Whenever you talk about a partner, be ultra-specific. When [my alliance manger] Fabienne Pioch-Laval talks to me about a partner, I don’t hear the first sentence. I’m thinking about, ‘this is the one with the product coming out 2021.’ You have the full picture, but I don’t. Don’t assume that [senior executives] know the specifics. Keep telling me what, why, what for, and how.” 
  • No surprises. “Your role is to anticipate, to manage changes that come from the outside, and from the partner, which is perceived to be outside the company. But make sure [communicating these changes] doesn’t happen in groups. Make sure executive team members know in advance that this is coming up—working the meeting before it happens. The best way to do that is to get their teams to understand, make their teams look good, make sure they convey to their bosses [the information they need]. Help them help you—the C-suite can create interpersonal goodwill.”
  • Give timely support that builds partner. “There are a couple of companies where I have to make myself visit, but if something goes wrong, I don’t know how much I would want to fix it” because of the poor nature of the relationship. “And there are companies that even if something goes wrong, I still want to work with them. Try to find opportunities for senior executives to be in a positive relationship with each other. Make sure your CEO or head of R&D makes that phone call of congratulations for your partner’s success. Write me that message that I can email onto the partner—so that when there’s a bit of turmoil they’ll do the same,” and have the same goodwill towards your company.
  • Don’t bring the CEO your gripes about BD. “One thing that I really don’t want to do is to sort out issues between business development and alliance management. One of the functions where you can step on toes is business development. But you guys can work it out. I don’t want to be involved—I’m just being honest with you.” 
  • Bring your partnering magic to C-suite executives’ teams. “At the end of the day, it’s a function, it’s a set of technical skills, a 360-degree understanding, but there’s an art, an element of humanity, interpersonal dynamics, an element of human magic. I want to see you spending a lot more time with the teams of the C-suite members, so they are informed by their teams. Collaborating in governance just works better naturally—so this is really the key message.”

Tags:  alliance manager  business development  CEO  chief alliance officers  C-suite  executives  Mayoly Spindler  partner  R&D  Stéphane Thiroloix 

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What a CEO Wants—and Doesn’t Want—in an Alliance Executive: A Peek inside the Mind of Mayoly Spindler CEO

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Thursday, September 8, 2016

From an alliance management perspective, how you would you describe your perfect CEO? After today, I might start with the handsome, articulate, and drily witty Stéphane Thiroloix, CEO of French pharmaceutical company Mayoly Spindler. Sharing a peek inside his mind as a company leader, today’s opening plenary speaker at the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston at one point described himself as “an anxious maniac” who secretly wishes to avoid meetings with some partners and worries over all the details he can’t remember about other partners. 

Thiroloix opened his talk by describing his humiliation at the center of an unmitigated partnering disaster. A far cry from the historic lament of partnering executives—“the C-suite has no idea what we do”—Thiroloix talked in sufficient detail to demonstrate his thorough command of the ins and outs of strategic partnering and the alliance management role. He also described how he has pushed to expand the role of alliance management in his current company, which focuses on gastroenterology and dermocosmetics. Not surprisingly, the audience was hooked from start to finish. 

Thiroloix backed up his talk by a handful of spare, almost minimalist slides (except for one animated slide that, I’m not kidding, showed a fairy flying around an org chart, waving her wand and sprinkling the magic dust of alliance management across the C-suite team). For nearly an hour of presentation and Q&A, Thiroloix riveted his audience of approximately 150 alliance executives by describing the importance of what they do and how they do it—from his perspective as a CEO. 

After reviewing the sweeping shift, during the past 30 years, from a highly vertical and self-contained pharmaceutical industry to the highly interdependent industry of today, he noted the truism that “we cannot get away from partnering. Today, you can’t do that, regardless of who you are—you have to partner in pretty much everything you do.” Moreover, that means CEOs need to care very much about alliance management. “This really has projected your role to a central role in what we do in the healthcare industry.” 

Then Thiroloix pivoted to the heart of his presentation. “Now I’d like to focus on the other aspect—the C-suite interaction with alliance management. There are a number of things that I’ve come to expect.” 

For starters, alliance management should be a “one-stop shop” for anything involving partners. “We expect you to know everything about the partnership—if you don’t, who will?” he asked. “I don’t know everything about our partners and I develop anxiety about that. The only way to relieve that anxiety is to talk to you. It’s technically important [to provide this knowledge] and also an interesting element of career dynamics. This is about reassuring the C-suite.” 

Indeed, he described in detail his expectations of “support for my team. We want to be informed, prompted and supported, and coordinated. I expect you to keep my team on the right page of that book, and help them to contribute to the health of that alliance.” 

One of Thiroloix’s most powerful points then came when he described his perspective on importance of advocating for the partner—demonstrating just how clearly he sees the nuances of alliance management and its pivotal role in partnering success. 

“I expect the alliance manager to put herself at risk at some point for the partner. Any C-suite will paint the picture the color they need it,” he explained. “The role of the alliance manager is to tell us, ‘you can’t do this because our partner is actually expecting the opposite,’ and to overcome the natural bias of executive committees.” As he did throughout his talk, Thiroloix then dug a layer deeper, explaining what he called a “survival skill” for alliance execs when they are advocating for the partner: 

“Make sure you are clear it’s your opinion versus painting the picture for the partner. I expect the alliance manager to tell me, ‘Stéphane, this is how our partner sees it,’ then say, ‘I think they’re wrong and might be open to changing their minds,’ or, ‘I think they’re right and we need to change our approach.’” 

He also emphasized the importance of telling senior leadership what they need to know about partners to do their jobs—but not what you might want them to know about your job and what it takes to do it. 

“Alliance managers are same as everyone else standing in front of senior management,” he admonished. “We all tend to go over the whole story about every one of our partnerships when we get a little bit of ear time—but don’t do that, we know how hard you work. The C-suite doesn’t understand the job, the complexity—but they understand the need for this type of job.”

Tags:  alliance manager  C-suite  leadership  Mayoly Spindler  partner  senior management  Stéphane Thiroloix  strategic partnering 

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Summer 2016 Issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine: Partnering for the Fourth Industrial Revolution; SAM Celebrates Five Years of Ink; Behind the BioPharma Conference Podiums

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 1, 2016
Updated: Saturday, August 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Strategic Alliance Magazine! This summer’s 60-page issue, formerly known as the Q2 edition, celebrates five years of the ups, downs, and inside-outs covering cutting-edge alliance management topics, as documented by John W. DeWitt. Turn the page, and readers can explore alliance management’s critical role in the fourth industrial revolution, as foreseen by forecasters Jan Twombly, CSAP, and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD, principals of The Rhythm of Business, and Lorin Coles, CSAP, co-founder and CEO of Alliancesphere, LLC. The cover story encourages readers to envision their companies orchestrating the speed, complexity, scope, and scale of the emerging ecosystem, and probes what will be required to stay attuned to the rhythm. “One thing is certain,” they predict. “If you do nothing to build understanding and capability to partner with an eco­system perspective, your company will be leaving value on the table at best—and at worst may find it­self left behind.”

 

This issue of SAM is certain to open your thought in other ways with a sneak peak of the new ASAP-commissioned 6th State of Alliances research report, “The Economics of Alliances, Social Capital, and Alliance Performance,” authored by Shawn Wilson, PhD, DBA, vice president and general manager at Beaulieu West Textiles. For the first time ever, ASAP provides hard numbers through economic and financial metrics that can be applied to enhance your company’s partnering and revenue.

 

Also on the “thought provoking” side is an Up Front book review “Committing to Collaborate” by ASAP CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, highlighting Martin Echavarria’s book Enabling Collaboration: Achieving Success Through Strategic Alliances and Partnerships. Leonetti wishes he had owned Echavarria’s book years ago because of its wise collaboration advice. An accomplished business coach for companies such as MasterCard, Verizon, Hewlett-Packard, Scotiabank, and American Express, Echavarria’s key argument is that partners should frame opportunity based on mutual understanding and core competencies, foster relationships over time, and make collaboration central with solid relationships when in the process of securing the commitment to development. Negotiating the collaboration portion of the deal will result in more sustainable alliances, he emphasizes over and over again. The review is an introduction to SAM’s engaging new book review feature—with many more insightful reviews to come.

 

If you’re wondering about this year’s 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference

 “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed” Sept. 7-9, at the Revere Hotel in the heart of Boston, read the preview of the timely keynote address “Healing the U.S. Health Care System: Collaboration is Essential” by Dr. Sam Nussbaum, strategic consultant, EGB Advisors, Inc. Nussbaum will touch on the impact of the presidential elections on healthcare and offer insights from his considerable experience streamlining and orchestrating healthcare between public and private entities. The plenary will be presented the following morning, Sept. 8, by Stéphene Thiroloix, CEO at Mayoly Spindler, who will share his perspective on leadership challenges in biopharmaceuticals and healthcare in “The View from the C-Suite: Partnering and Alliances Today and Tomorrow.”

 

This rich issue also includes a Member Spotlight interviewing Citrix’s Steve Blacklock on how partnering has driven Citrix to the cloud, and we continue our Cultural Roundtables coverage from the March 1-4 2016 Global Alliance Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. Part II delves into another aspect of the intensive two-hour session where participants explored cultural aspects of a region in relation to business acumen. The Spring issue covered China; this issue explores forging relationships in India and Latin America.

 

Eli Lilly and Company has provided another topical editorial supplement, “Better Together: Best Alliance Practices for Building a Better Brand,” by

Markus Saba and David S. Thompson, CA-AM. Finally, in The Close, our publisher and editor describes the message that came through “loud and clear” from the last conference he attended—partnering and collaboration truly are everywhere. We look forward to sharing with you this Summer 2016 issue of SAM that is chock full of exceptional collaborations, companies, individuals, and ideas. It’s been a terrific five years of SAM and ASAP Media—and we look forward to many more to come.

Tags:  6th State of Alliances  Alliance Practices  Alliancesphere  Citrix  cultural  David Thompson  Dr. Sam Nussbaum  ecosystem  EGB Advisors  Eli Lilly and Company  Inc.  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  Loren Coles  Markus Saba  Martin E  Mayoly Spindler  Shawn Wilson  Stéphene Thiroloix  Steve Blacklock  The Rhythm of Business 

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Maximizing the Alliance Management and C-Suite Relationship Through the Eyes of Biopharma Conference Plenary Speaker Stéphane Thiroloix

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stéphane Thiroloix describes himself as a “reasonable generalist,” having been involved with partnering in multiple waysfrom business development, general management, marketing, and sales to R&D and legal affairs. The CEO at Mayoly Spindler, an emerging family-owned, independent French company with a focus on gastroenterology and dermocosmetics, will present a plenary talk on The View from the C-Suite: Partnering and Alliances Today and Tomorrow,” Thursday morning, Sept. 8, during the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. This year’s conference, “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Revere Hotel in Boston. Mayoly Spindler’s revenue originates half in France and half abroad through activities in over 50 countries, mostly via local partnerships. The company’s portfolio strategy is based almost exclusively on partnering. Thiroloix provided this preview of his topic on how alliance management functions can best be viewed and leveraged by company senior leadership.

What are some of the challenges when coordinating the alliance management and C-Suite relationships?
The first challenge is simply understanding the role of alliance management. When you have skilled and proactive alliance managers, it does not take long for the C-Suite to appreciate their work and turn to them constantly. Another challenge is keeping the alliance manager in play at all times, even when a partner is tempted to take a more direct CEO-to-CEO route. While that’s a perfectly legitimate move, it’s then the CEO's responsibility to keep the alliance manager in play, even if it’s transiently unofficial. One interesting challenge is accepting contradictions from the alliance manager as they stand for partner interests. It’s easy to state and posture that the alliance manager is our partner's ambassador in our ExCom [executive committee], but when they make the partner's case in a difficult decision, we may feel a little strain as we remind ourselves that we hired them to do so and should pay attention.

Among your proposed discussion topics is the importance of establishing an alliance management function and its value to the senior executive team. Why has this become increasingly important in the new ecosystem?
The pharma model has become tremendously fragmented. When I started my professional life, large pharma companies were the norm, and they were fully integrated—from fundamental research to sales. Partnerships were the exception rather than the norm, and we relied mostly on our internal dynamics to succeed. Today, not only is there a constellation of small, ultra-specialized players, but even the large pharma players outsource vast quantities of strategic activities, including entire components of their R&D, most of their manufacturing, and frequently their commercial activity. As a result, the way we work today is intrinsically alliance-based. Additionally, it’s not about whether you're big or small. If you are a big, dominant player, there is high risk that you will be overpowering in your partnerships. Partners used to accept this because partnering with big pharma was the grail. That’s no longer the case, so big players need alliance management to maintain a healthy balance in their dealings with smaller players who have a variety of other doors to knock on. If you are a small player, you must be agile, humble, and alliance-focused in order to quickly build a strong partnering track record.

Describe some effective strategies partnering professionals can use to support the C-Suite?
A straight answer may be a little simplistic. The company (and its C-Suite), its partners and the alliance manager themselves, have a specific profile and style that may call for different approaches. The C-Suite requires a difficult balance between boring them with systematic activity reporting and appearing to withhold knowledge that provides an edge—which is unbearable to the C-Suite. What I've seen work well is to use the pace of partnership governance: at ExCom meetings before key alliance governance moments, provide relevant updates and gather C-Suite insight. That way you will not be covering all topics all the time. Make sure you share partner milestones to provide the C-Suite with opportunities to react in a constructive manner. If a partner cleared an FDA hurdle or raised capital, some C-Suite members may want to send a congratulatory note—but if you don’t point it out, they might miss the occasion. The best way to work the C-Suite is unquestionably to work more with their teams than with them. Similarly, make sure the C-Suite's personal assistants know where to find alliance reports, and develop flexibility and opportunities for them to connect with bosses whenever they need to deal with the alliance. Be ready to explain the same things again and again. And never, ever surprise them.

Tags:  alliance management  alliances  C-Suite  ecosystem  FDA  governance  Mayoly Spindler  partners  partnership  Stéphane Thiroloix 

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What’s Brewing in the 2016 Biopharma Conference Beaker? | Part 1

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, July 19, 2016

In a recent interview, ASAP CEO Mike Leonetti, CSAP, provided a sampling of what’s to come at the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. He offered insights into the changing landscape for partnerships and how alliance managers and others need to adapt, as well as a preview of speakers and cutting edge sessions and workshops.  

Why is this a must-attend conference for alliance managers, CEOs, and others working in the biopharma, healthcare, and life sciences industries? 

Partnership management is changing. If they are performing their jobs the same way they were two years ago, they likely are leaving money on the table or missing great new opportunities. This year’s conference offers programming to learn how to partner in new environments, which includes tech, academic, and healthcare system partnerships. An ongoing message of the conference is to understand that the ecosystem is getting larger, and their enterprise now represents their company, partners, and the entire healthcare system. As alliance managers, we can no longer be comfortable defining our box as an asset partnership and staying there. We will limit our creation of value in our companies unless we harvest the enterprise. 

What’s new at this year’s conference? 

We are going to talk a lot about the changes in partnerships across the industry. We are not only going to talk about biopharma and healthcare, we are going to hear from people on the tech side of ASAP regarding what’s important and best practices when partnering with tech. It will provide key opportunities to learn about tech companies and how they partner. If biopharma and healthcare are going to partner with tech, each of these industries needs to have a clear understanding of the others’ expectations. 

What timely message is Dr. Samuel Nussbaum, strategic consultant at EGB Advisors, Inc., likely to provide during his keynote address? 

The keynote, “Healing the U.S. Health Care System: Collaboration is Essential,” which is scheduled for the afternoon of Wed., Sept. 7, will tie directly into our theme. Sam is going to talk about his background and expertise with the impact of public policy on healthcare systems and healthcare reform. He will talk a lot about how important collaboration is to finding a solution to our system crisis; my guess is he may try to give examples of how manufacturers, payers, policy experts, academics, and anybody else in the healthcare system can collaborate and partner to overcome major obstacles regarding healthcare reform. 

Who will give the plenary address? 

Our plenary will be given by Stéphane Thiroloix, CEO of Mayoly Spindler, on the morning of Thurs., Sept. 8. Mayoly Spindler is an emerging family-owned, independent French company, originally founded by a husband-and-wife team working to provide gastroenterology and dermatology healthcare solutions. Stéphane joined as managing director in 2014, and he has lots of leadership experience from working in multiple biopharma executive roles before joining Mayoly Spindler. He is an advocate who understands what it takes to be successful in a partnership and basically created the partnership management function in his last two roles.  He will share what a CEO’s expectations are for alliance management success. 

To view the program and download brochure information, go to www. asapweb.org/biopharma.

Tags:  alliance management  biopharma  collaborate  Dr. Samuel Nussbaum  ecosystem  healthcare  healthcare reform  Mayoly Spindler  partner  partnership  Partnership management  Partnerships  public policy  Stéphane Thiroloix  tech 

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