Interim manager in the pharmaceutical industry: “I am most comfortable in a storm”

An autumn evening in 2013 when Bertil Andersson was googling around, InterimLeder popped onto the screen. A couple of clicks later, he was registered in the database along with more than 1,400 interim managers, and only a few weeks later, the experienced pharma man took on the task of managing Thermo Fisher's largest international team. 

When we speak with the 45-year old Sandefjord resident on his mobile, he has just returned from a skiing holiday in Geilo and summit trip at Finse. Barely 5 months into his assignment with Thermo Fisher Scientific, he has already implemented measures and organization of teams that has been applauded by both senior management and colleagues alike.

“I am most comfortable in a storm. It makes you feel really alive. That is why this job is perfect for me. Management is teamwork, and as a manager I am concerned with creating results through the team I am responsible for, and to ensure that the individual member learns and grows continuously. That's why I perform ‘reality checks’ now and then, so I know how I'm getting along,” Andersson says.

Professional and experienced

Termo Fisher Scientific is a global leader in technology for the health sector, including diagnostics. The company has a turnover of USD 17 billion and has 50,000 employees in 50 countries. When the manager of the international support team took maternity leave, they had to replace her immediately.

“With a background from pharma, insight into medicine and extensive experience from the sector, it was the right match, and we signed a contract for 16 months,” says Andersson, who during the process was in dialogue with Tor Hansen at InterimLeder.

Really wanted to become a hotel manager

When asked what he wanted to be when he was a child, there is no hesitation:

“Hotel manager! The family travelled quite a bit when I was a kid, and I was fascinated by the atmosphere and getting to know new people. Everyone usually has an exciting story to tell.”

The story of how Bertil Andersson got into the pharmaceutical industry is something like this:

“With the dream of being a hotel manager I travelled to Germany planning to stay there for a couple of months before proceeding to France, England and then Switzerland. I ended up doing four years of international marketing in Germany,” Andersson says.

The path to the pharmaceutical industry

“I have always been concerned with exercising and healthy eating and living. So when I happened to meet someone who worked at Pfizer who told me about the pharmaceutical industry, I decided there and then that it was there I would work. I applied to 10 different companies and was hired by Bristol-Myers Squibb within a week.”

Subsequently Andersson was to work for several of the best-known companies in the industry, first as pharmaceutical consultant with GlaxoSmithKline, before becoming product manager with the same company. Then there was a few years with Bayer, in positions as sales manager, country manager and marketing and sales manager. The final position was as VP sales and marketing with NattoPharma, with responsibility for strategy and sales in the USA, Canada and Germany.

“In the beginning I worked extensively with sales to doctors. It was interesting discussing the trade and medicine with professionals, and keeping up to date is still an important success factor for me. At Thermo Fisher we are working on technology that is used to extract elements from blood samples, in order to test patients for various diseases.