Express Pharma

More and more organisations in India understand and have diversity, equity and inclusion as a key priority

Lene Hylling Axelsson, Corporate Vice President, Global Business Services, Novo Nordisk shares details about the milestones and experiences in her career journey, evolution and progress of pharma Global Business Operations, challenges faced by the PHL industry during the pandemic, diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and more, in an interview with Ashwini Prakash, Managing Partner India, Asia Pacific Lead – Pharma, Healthcare, Life Sciences and Consumer products, Stanton Chase India

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You are a global leader today; tell us about your career journey?

I have been working with the same company for 25 years and recently celebrated my 25th work anniversary at Novo Nordisk. Such a long time in a single organisation might sound boring to many, but at Novo Nordisk, I have worked in different functions including sales, marketing, finance, and production across different geographies – North and South Europe, the US, Japan and now in India where I am heading the Global Shared Services in India for the last two years. I feel 25 years have flown away quickly but I also feel that I got a lot of opportunities during my career. I never imagined I would be here for this long. Whenever I tried to explore opportunities outside Novo Nordisk, I have always come back with the feeling that the opportunities at Novo Nordisk are much more challenging and exciting. The company has since been on a wonderful journey in 25 years, expanding its services and reaching out to many more patients across the world. Today, we are among the top 10 pharma companies in the world. I feel my journey is closely linked with Novo Nordisk which itself has been very inspirational and interesting.

How are the pharma Global Business Operations (GBO) disrupting the Pharma, Healthcare and Lifesciences (PHL) industry?

I think the pharma sector and the GBOs are undergoing a huge transformation and COVID-19 has been one of the determining factors along with price pressures and a lot of change in regulations. As we know pharma products have a long life cycle management and it takes forever to build up a new product in the pharma sector if we look aside from vaccines, which is an amazing innovation in itself. Right now, all of this is very data-driven and we see digitalisation of the whole life cycle and across the life span of the product in the pharma industry. Large investments are being made not only in Novo Nordisk but the entire pharma industry to drive data-driven decisions and moving towards digital technology, both in the sales force, to improve our customer interaction, and also in our research & development (R&D). It is amazing to see how COVID-19 has accelerated the pharma industry’s development and we took steps 10 years ahead