In this edition, Josh Blackman, Partner, shares his views with Lisa Farmer, Managing Partner, on industry trends in the healthcare & life sciences sector and how to succeed as an interim manager in a competitive market. With a firm spotlight on the sector, Josh also analyses the key challenges, opportunities and how interim managers can play a key role in its success.
Lisa: Josh, as a partner in Boyden UK’s Interim Management Practice, can you tell us about your focus and priorities.
Josh: First, I am so pleased to have joined the Boyden UK & Ireland team and I am excited about working in such a respected international business. Second, and to answer your question, my focus will span Healthcare & Life Sciences in the appointment of interim board, c-suite and senior change managers with national, multi-national and international businesses. Our area of expertise is working with small to mid-capital businesses, both private and public, who are going through significant periods of growth. This growth may come about from initial seed money, Series A or B, or expanding internationally. We also have a strong footprint with established PLCs.
Lisa: How do you manage your clients’ need for both Permanent and Interim Executives to support their businesses?
Josh: As a result of Boyden’s fully integrated executive search, interim management and leadership consulting service lines, I work closely with my colleague Nick Bellwood, Partner. Nick is responsible for our executive search offering in Healthcare & Life Sciences where we will complement each other when supporting our client’s requirements. It can be a burdensome process for some clients due to pressures on their diaries so to have both service lines working closely together eases the process, allowing them to focus on the needs of their business.
Lisa: What do you see as the key challenges and opportunities within the UK Healthcare & Life Sciences sector for 2022?
Josh: As a sector, workforce supply issues have typically been the pressure point facing many healthcare & life science businesses over recent years and the ‘burnout’ of staff from Covid-19, specific to healthcare, has compounded this to create unseen levels of vacancies. This has resulted in demand for senior interim managers, either to fill short-term gaps or to create strategies for recruitment and retention.
Relating to opportunities, there has been an almost 60% increase in overseas investment in the UK life sciences sector which shows an increasing appetite for growth.
Relating to opportunities, there has been an almost 60% increase in overseas investment in the UK life sciences sector which shows an increasing appetite for growth. Coupled with the heroic efforts of the industry during the mobilisation and rollout of vaccines, the spotlight is firmly on the sector, creating unparalleled demand. This is also true of the healthcare sector, with the UK government spending almost 13% of GDP on the NHS. We also saw private healthcare playing an increasing role in tackling some of the largest waiting times in history, so I envisage growth in line with demand.
Lisa: What is the focus for Boyden’s Healthcare & Life Sciences Practice in the UK?
Josh: We will focus on three main subsectors for each healthcare & life sciences; NHS, private healthcare and ancillary care; biotech, MedTech and pharmaceuticals.
Within these subsectors, there will be an emphasis on appointing to both interim managers and permanent board, c-suite, heads of and change management positions. As someone who lives in Cambridge, a thriving hub for biotech and pharmaceuticals businesses, it is exciting to see an insatiable appetite for growth with record investments and IPOs during 2021.
Lisa: What do you look for in a great interim profile?
Josh: Consistency and outcomes. I like to know what they were responsible for and what they achieved as ultimately, they are placed with clients to complete a specific assignment and task. The last element I look for is longevity in an interim assignment. Although interim assignments are short by nature, if the initial brief is a success, there is a high probability that the client may ask the interim manager to take on additional responsibilities.
Lisa: What are your top tips to be a successful candidate in the interim management industry?
Josh: Reputation and track record are the foundation of any successful interim career. Although it is a large and expanse market we operate in, clients and peers talk, so my advice would be to act with the utmost integrity and ensure assignments are completed to the best of your ability. Additionally, I would advise forging a strong working relationship with a select few providers who you trust as they are going to be acting on your behalf.