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Mergers and Acquisitions – A Survival Guide!

Posted on: 02 Apr 02


As R&D costs rise steadily and restrictions on profit squeeze tighter, pharma companies must maintain large commercial and development portfolios in order to remain competitive.
It is a palpable fact that you cannot work in the pharmaceutical industry of the 21st century without coming across a merger or acquisition at some time in your career. As R&D costs rise steadily and restrictions on profit squeeze tighter, pharma companies must maintain large commercial and development portfolios in order to remain competitive. The easiest way to increase your product line is, of course, to buy or in some way amalgamate with another company with an established and complementary portfolio itself. Since the 1980’s pharmaceutical companies have been constantly merging with and acquiring others – and there is nothing to suggest that this is likely to change in the immediate future. Indeed, the practice has now spread to the CRO sector – the small to medium size companies that started up in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s are, one by one, being swallowed up by the bigger global organisations. So what does this mean to you, the humble employee, caught up in the wake of the boardroom battles? The likely “restructuring” resulting from the coming together of two organisations immediately makes one anxious – will I lose my job? Will I have to change my role? Will I like my new boss? Whispered rumours of “downsizing” start to spread – how many will go? Who will go? Will I be one of them? All of this uncertainty makes for a very stressful working environment and, for the unprepared this can be a very harrowing experience. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to help yourself through such difficult times:
  • Try not to get drawn into negative, destructive conversations with others. Time spent discussing the positive implications of the merger for yourself and your colleagues (and there will be many!) is not only a much more constructive use of you time but will also help you focus on continuing to perform your current role to the best of your ability. Your performance will almost certainly be recognised and rewarded within the new organisation.
  • If there are any opportunities to be proactively involved with the restructuring of the new organisation, take them! Volunteer to sit on working parties or committees looking at the integration of the two cultures. Attend staff briefings and ask questions about any aspects of the change process that are worrying you. If possible, try to determine whether there are any timescales in place for various aspects of the integration process to be completed – this will help you to know where you are in the big scheme of things.
  • In the early days, find out as much as you can about the ”other” company – how are they structured? What are their processes? What is their culture? Get to know those working within the organisation as soon as possible and discuss the similarities and differences in your ways of working. Be enthusiastic about combining best practice from both “sides” - avoid thinking in terms of “them and us”. Remember they feel as uncertain as you do! Of course, if you do find your position redundant and need to find a new job, you should remember that you are not alone. There are a number of recruitment organisations who can help you in your search but remember to be selective - flooding the market with your CV will not reflect well on your candidacy. Make sure that you keep control of your job search and always insist that consultants discuss possible vacancies with you before submitting your details for consideration. Choose a resourcing partner who is recommended to you by friends or colleagues and who have a range of opportunities to offer you. Futures Resourcing Ltd has just such a reputation for candidate care – we offer practical advice on the direction of your career and how to structure your CV for the type of role you seek. At Futures YOU, our candidates, are our most precious resource and we will work with you to ensure that, not only are you quickly back in work but in the right job too! Click here for Detail-Direct, is the premier location for product-based information that is relevant to the practice of medicine, or for more information contact Colin Williams, e-Marketing Manager on +44 (0)1344 667430
  • Trudy Lowe

    Last updated on: 27/08/2010 11:40:18

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