For practically every industry and the leaders within them, 2021 presented new and unprecedented challenges. From lockdowns to supply chain disruptions, the coronavirus pandemic caused monumental shifts in the way businesses across the globe operated in 2020, and while there was hope that the following year would bring about a return to normalcy, it turned out to be one that required even more flexibility than the year prior. In order to lead effectively those in charge needed to have agility, making long-term decisions that ensure the stability and growth of the business while acknowledging the transitory time period and potential need for pivots.
Carsten Thiel was doubly challenged, taking on the position of chief executive officer for the global biopharmaceutical company EUSA Pharma in early March of 2021, just before the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization officially designating the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic. Having led EUSA Pharma’s Europe region and global marketing over the past two years, Dr. Thiel took over from the prior CEO Lee Morley who had been with the company for 6 years.
Founded in March of 2015, EUSA Pharma focuses on developing biopharmaceuticals for oncology and rare diseases. The company has experienced rapid growth over the past seven years, with operations now extending across the United States and Europe and also having a direct presence in select other markets globally. Led by an experienced management team that has a solid background in building pharmaceutical companies to achieve strong results,
Known for his ability to build teams and lead them with a clear vision, Dr. Thiel arrived at EUSA Pharma with nearly three decades of experience in the international pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining the company in 2019, he held various executive positions including executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and vice president, head of Europe at Amgen. He began his career at Hoffmann La-Roche, spending nearly a decade growing with the company in roles of increasing responsibility. Dr. Thiel attended the Philipp University of Marburg for his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
Known for his ambitious growth plans, upon appointment to the CEO position at EUSA Pharma Thiel said he believed the company was in an ideal position to take larger steps forward and looked forward to advancing EUSA Pharma’s mission of transforming the lives of people affected by cancer or rare disease at a global scale. Focusing on building effective teams and a strong company culture, Thiel’s patient-first executive strategy proved to excite the international pharmaceutical group Recordati and in December of 2021 they announced their acquisition of EUSA Pharma.
Established in 1926, Recordati is listed on the Italian Stock Exchange and had a consolidated revenue of $1.72 billion in 2021. It has a total staff of over 4,000 globally that are dedicated to the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, and is headquartered in Milan, Italy but has operations in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, North Africa, the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, as well as some countries in South America and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Recordati represents a wide range of both proprietary and licenced pharmaceuticals and is committed to the research and development of new specialties with a focus on treatments for rare diseases. By acquiring EUSA Pharma for $845 million, the company was granted access to its portfolio of rare disease and cancer treatments.
As a result of Dr. Thiel’s work in his first year as CEO at EUSA Pharma, The Healthcare Technology Report named him one of the top 25 healthcare technology CEOs of Europe for 2021. With the coronavirus pandemic highlighting the importance of innovation within the healthcare sector, areas such as biotechnology, medical devices, software and consumer products have been thrust into the spotlight as sources of such innovation. The Healthcare Technology Report focused on CEOs in Europe that proved to be strong leaders who were able to adapt to both increased demand for their products as well as the shifting priorities in the market.
According to The Healthcare Technology Report, nominees were evaluated based on their breadth and depth of experience, consistently high organizational performance, contributions to the industry and reputation amongst their peers. In his time as CEO in 2021, Dr. Thiel has not only made strategic decisions to drive operational expansion through the acquisition by Recordati, but also expanded research capabilities and facilitated the development and future launch of new products to market.
In March 2022, Two years after the coronavirus first began causing global lockdowns and changing the world as we know it and one year after Carsten was named CEO of EUSA Pharma, the acquisition by Recordati was officially closed. Dr. Carsten Thiel’s leadership saw his team driving the strongest growth in 2021 since inception, as he directed over 200 employees to operate with a primary focus on patients and a culture of putting their needs first.
With extensive commercial operations in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Africa and a presence in other international markets, in just seven years EUSA Pharma has built a multi-million dollar international business in a niche and often neglected market. Dr. Thiel has been involved with the company for nearly half of that time, shepherding its development of a number of drugs that have the ability to positively impact thousands of lives.
Leading a company has always been a difficult task, and the coronavirus pandemic only proved to present a new myriad of challenges that had to be navigated deftly in order of companies to not only survive, but thrive. Dr. Thiel accepted those challenges at EUSA Pharma head-on, culminating in a landmark year for the burgeoning business and the promise of more to come in the future.