November 21, 2018 – Persistent talent shortages and the need to develop and retain employees with critical business and technology skill-sets will continue to challenge global life sciences companies for the foreseeable future, according to Deloitte’s global sector outlook on life sciences. Navigating this new world of work requires a dramatic change in strategies for leadership, talent and human resources.
What’s more, the global life sciences sector is in the midst of a turbulent transformation, making the need for innovative leaders more important than ever. So it is that search firms are staffing up to meet the demand. In the latest instance, Catalyst Advisors, a board and C-level recruiting firm focused on the biopharma industry, has opened a new office in Cambridge, MA, and appointed Gilbert Forest as a partner.
“Gilbert Forest is a proven senior advisor with a tremendous track record of identifying and recruiting key leadership for global life sciences companies,” said John Archer, Catalyst Advisors’ founder and managing partner. “The greater Boston area is arguably the most sophisticated region in the world in terms of bringing new understandings to the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. Cambridge is its epicenter.”
“Gilbert is a knowledgeable and respected leader in our industry,” Mr. Archer added. “His extensive experience and expertise in the life sciences sector aligns perfectly with our firm. I’m confident Gilbert will deliver high-quality service and value to our current and growing client base.”
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Mr. Forest brings over 20 years of experience in the talent strategy and recruiting space. For much of that time, he was a partner with Egon Zehnder advising biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies on their C-suite talent needs. Before his experience in the executive talent space, he was an attorney at General Motors Corp., covering international alliances and joint ventures. He was also involved in intellectual property, technology transfer and regulatory issues.
Mr. Forest is the eighth partner to join Catalyst Advisors’ leadership team. In his new role, he will establish a new Catalyst Advisors’ office in Cambridge. The firm’s fourth location, in addition to those in New York, London and Los Angeles, will serve clients locally and globally, increasing its access to both talent and clients in a region known for innovation in life sciences.
Massachusetts is a growing global hub for life sciences innovation. According to the Boston Business Journal, the biotech sector accounts for many of the fastest-growing companies in the state. Coupled with an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the result is low labor supply and intense competition for top leaders. Given these realities, Deloitte’s “Global Life Sciences Outlook” identified talent shortages as a continuing obstacle for companies looking to grow and evolve.
Evolving Dynamics of Recruiting In Life Sciences
As the life sciences sector evolves, this specialized area of executive recruiting is changing as well. For Adam Bloom, president of the Stevenson Group, his expanding role as talent evaluator has elevated in importance due to shifting market forces.
“I am thrilled to join the team at Catalyst Advisors,” Mr. Forest said. “I was drawn to the firm’s expert focus on life sciences companies, where we’re uniquely positioned to advise our clients in a historically competitive environment for premier talent.”
Catalyst Advisors is focused on finding C-suite leaders and board directors for biopharma companies ranging from established, publicly-held enterprises to start-ups backed by leading venture funds. Publicly-held clients include Acceleron Pharma, AveXis, BioMarin, Gilead Sciences, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Ovid Therapeutics, Regeneron and Shire, among others.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media