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End of an era at Glaxo

English version

The tenure of the Argentine Rodolfo Civale at the helm of the UK’s GSK for the Southern Cone has come to an end. His exit will also mean a change at the CAEMe, the association for international drugmakers.

It seemed like it would last ever, but the decade-long tenure of the Argentine Rodolfo Civale (60) at the helm of Glaxo’s Southern Cone division has come to an end, Pharmabiz has learned.

Civale, also a key figure in the CAEMe association has led a noteworthy career in the Argentine pharmaceutical industry, but what will particularly stand out in his biography is his «strategic” 2010 purchase of the local drugmaker Phoenix.

At that juncture, Civale wanted to add critical mass to the local division to gain points and climb upwards in the multi, aiming for a regional position, but not only did he not gain the type of post he was after, but after just seven years, Glaxo sold Phoenix back to its original owners for half of what it had paid in the acquisition, making it a less than handsome deal for Glaxo. See article.

Rarely has a CEO been so questioned by both his own staff and others. Both internal teams at Glaxo and industry peers spoke to Pharmabiz of a an authoritarian and self-centred style, and recommendations to feign a more democratic personality went unheeded.

With a background as an accountant, the squat executive has always stood out for his arrogant style and for adopting short-term objectives and immediate results. It was also Civale who pushed the idea of breaking ties with other industry associations when an agreement with Argentina’s public pensioners’ medical provider PAMI collapsed at Easter this year. See article in Spanish.

Further back but far from unforgotten is the disarray Civale oversaw in the area of clinical investigation, which saw the firm fined US$ 250,000 due to irregularities in trials of the pneumonia vaccine Synflorix, an episode that dramatically harmed the image of clincal investigation in Argentina back in 2012. See article in Spanish.

The company’s reaction was to issue an aseptic release and mount a counteroffensive attempting to dilute the topic in public opinion, although the strategy was inconsistent. More recently the company wanted to show that it was choosing Argentina for investment and held a press conference from which Pharmabiz was excluded, suggesting Civale’s character cannot accept criticism and potentially uncomforting opinions. See article in Spanish.

For the moment, it’s unknown who will take Civale’s place, and there will also be changes to come at the top of the CAEMe, where Civale together with Edgardo Vázquez had given the institutions a makeover.

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Pharmabiz es un diario especializado en el quehacer de la industria farmacéutica y cosmética. Investiga y analiza noticias desde la Ciudad de Buenos Aires para toda la región | Copyrıght 2016