December 15, 2017 – The Hennessy Group has added HR veteran Edward Herpel as vice president. His focus will be on search project management as well as business development in the pharmaceutical / biopharmaceutical sector and other selected industry sectors in life sciences.
Mr. Herpel’s career includes more than 25 years of Big Pharma experience in both human resources and operations roles. He also spent seven years in executive search and consulting. While Mr. Herpel’s work has spanned the globe from China to Europe, his role with the Hennessy Group will be based in Denver.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Ed as part of our team,” said Robert Hennessy, CEO of the Hennessy Group. “Companies are experiencing a need for talent in life sciences unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Everyone from Big Pharma to small life sciences startups needs to ensure that they have the right candidates in front of them without delay.”
“Innovation has no time to wait,” Mr. Hennessy said. “Adding someone like Ed, who possesses the talent, connections and market knowledge that clients need, is a natural progression for our firm. The hands-on experience Ed brings and his understanding of how to develop strong candidate slates will be a competitive advantage for our clients.”
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Established more than 30 years ago, the Hennessy Group has worked extensively with companies in Big Pharma and has developed expertise building executive teams in specialty pharmaceuticals, the CDMO industry, and numerous other sectors in life sciences as well. The firm frequently places executive candidates in 90 days or less.
An Inside Look
Mr. Herpel recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss his new role and the current climate of the life sciences sector:
Ed, explain how you plan to leverage your 25 years of Big Pharma experience in both human resources and operations roles in your new position.
I’ve had the good fortune to serve as an HR leader not only in Big Pharma but also biopharma, vaccines and consumer healthcare and have helped companies with staffing in every stage, from discovery through development as well as manufacturing and commercialization. This experience gives me first-hand knowledge about the operations and needs of the companies we’re helping. What are they trying to accomplish? What kind of leader has the chops needed to really succeed in those goals?
“When you’re trying to staff your corporate team, this means you need more specialized talent to continue to give you a competitive advantage. But finding the right leaders is much more nuanced than ever before.”
And your wide background seems well suited.
I’ve placed many people over the years. When I was at Wyeth (now Pfizer), I led the talent management process for the entire global R&D organization of more than 6,000 people. I worked with senior leadership to identify and develop key talent, identify talent/leadership gaps and ensure that succession plans were in place for all divisions in the organization across multiple continents and countries. This is the kind of experience that gave me insight into the type of people who would succeed.
Were most of these professionals already in your network?
Yes. I knew a lot of them personally. It’s essential having access to people you know are going to be top candidates. Just motivating them to consider moving from jobs they’re settled in can be difficult. It is also important for executive search consultants to know exactly who is where, what’s happening at their company, in their jobs, and even what’s happening in their personal lives. For me, while I grew up in Big Pharma, staying in close contact with friends I made there has helped me make the jump into the small cap world of life sciences. In fact, some of my most recent experience has come from consulting for these smaller companies. Aside from the insight and connections those 25 years gave me, it has also enabled me to speak the language of the companies we help. I can understand their technical needs and the leadership requirements much better. For me, I now get to do what I loved as an in-house HR leader, only now as an executive search consultant. And, of course, I’m not limited to working with just one company.
What’s going on in the life sciences sector right now?
Life sciences is experiencing an increasing shortage of talent in both mature and emerging markets. While parts of the world now have greater regulatory and pricing pressures due to healthcare reform, other regions are anticipating increased government spending and insurance coverage. Regardless of the size or location of a business and changing market conditions, healthcare reform and increased pressures on regulatory compliance will continue to transform the life sciences industry. When you’re trying to staff your corporate team, this means you need more specialized talent to continue to give you a competitive advantage. But finding the right leaders is much more nuanced than ever before.
What roles are most in demand?
We’re seeing strong demand across the life sciences sector globally for functional leaders in R&D, regulatory affairs, quality, and manufacturing/technical operations. We’re also seeing strong demand in certain therapeutic categories, including immuno-oncology and diabetes care, and in specialties including biologics, pain management, respiratory care and dermatology. We’re helping more generics clients plus several in the CDMO space expand in the U.S. and in Europe, and digital health is growing, too. The need isn’t limited to talent on the clinical or manufacturing sides. Organizations are also looking for people to position their product in the market, to sell, and to keep the staff they already have happy, satisfied, and productive. Really, everywhere you look in the life sciences, the need for talent is growing faster than most organizations can keep up with. For HR teams, that’s creating pressure to hire the right candidates – people who can take the company to the next level.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media