Adri Simamora, CFO Sandoz Netherlands

We see big plans for Sandoz in your commitment to increase patient access to high-quality, life-enhancing biosimilar medicines and obtaining approval for four more biosimilars of major oncology and immunology biologics by 2020 -  can you identify how your organization stands out from the market and your competitors?

We have operated in this space for the last 10 years; driving the first biosimilars in Europe and the US. As a division of Novartis, Sandoz is uniquely placed to offer medical innovation and increase access to high quality medicines. In fact, we are the only company with a foot on both platforms; cutting edge research and cost-effective medicines. In understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these two areas, we can best understand the pain diseases can bring and with lower costs, can bring value and solutions to the world.

 

What challenges await your business and how do you hope to overcome them?

A particular challenge in our industry is to maintain access to medical care within the healthcare budget. We are also keen to be part of the solution and work closely with governments to understand their challenges and share ideas to offer cost-effective, high quality medicines. One way we can do this is through continuously innovating. For example, creating new delivery technologies, product enhancement through combination formulations and in offering improved products compared to others on the market.

 

What excites you about working for Sandoz?

There was never a more relevant time than now to be conscious of maintaining a healthcare budget that is sustainable and yet still push boundaries to find a cure. If I only worked for a biotech company, I would not understand the limited budget in society – I know we make a real difference. We are a trusted partner. This is also an exciting time for biosimilars and we are leading the way in Europe and the US, again creating better access. As a result, our company culture is innovative, fast paced and open; striving to be better and I enjoy this dynamic environment.

 

When did you decide to explore a career in Finance and why?

Initially I wanted to study medicine but with my strengths instead chose economics. I see finance as an honest broker; with data, you can see the truth in a situation, review and analyse it and then make decisions.

 

What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?

Influencing indirectly, cost controlling and not overspending to add real value to the business. Although not on the front line like sales, finance is a key business partnering role helping to steer conversations to get results and these, at the end of a project or year, are rewarding.
As an evolving industry and agile business, I work with my team to support them, help them to grow and then to run. Seeing this evolution is also rewarding.

 

If you could change one thing in your career what would it be?

Honestly, not much. I like to stay open and challenge myself; learning from my experiences.

 

Looking back through your established career, what would you identify as a personal highlight?

Being open to new challenges has opened doors. I could have stayed in South East Asia and continued to work in practice staying in my comfort zone but instead I flew 11,500km to The Netherlands and kept an open mind.

 

What was the worst / best interview experience you have had?

The worst was when a candidate was unprepared for their interview and instead tried to be the person they thought they should be to get the job. This was obvious, their answers were unconvincing and instead they gave a weak performance.
If I could give advice, it would be to just be yourself, we are all unique, this is what makes life interesting. Importantly this lets you see if the role and company are a good fit for you and the business to see if you are a good fit for the them. The best interviews I have are with candidates who are well prepared and give a confident account of themselves, giving examples of relevant experience and ways they have added value in their previous jobs. Any examples of going the extra mile are great to hear and depending on the role, if a candidate doesn’t have specific experience but makes an effort to redeem themselves through their spirit and has a genuine interest in the business, that’s what counts; skills can be taught.

 

What advice would you give to future aspiring leaders, and why?

Stay humble. The humbler you are, the more you realise you don’t know everything - if you don’t think like this, it will stop you growing and achieving greater things. Be open to new ideas but don’t be swayed by fads; we live in a changing world and adaptability is key.

Don’t take things for granted and invest in yourself. Try to learn from others, both your leaders or peers. Choose the type of leadership style you would want to have, interview someone with that approach, learn how they move and how they make decisions and then copy this in your everyday.

It was instilled in me as a kid by my grandma that nothing is impossible with focus and hard work. If you put your heart and soul into it, you can achieve anything.

 

Who was your most admired person when you were in your childhood and why?

Without question, my mother and grandmother, two strong women who were not bound by village thinking and looked outside their small community. Both very hard workers, with an eye for finance as well as being kind hearted; this has rubbed off on me too. It is important not to lose your humanity and touch of kindness; I always look to help where I can.

 

What books / blogs are you currently reading?

A really interesting read, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

*Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the Interviewee and NOT views shared by EMEA Recruitment.

 
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