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When drug and device makers need a new chief medical officer or vice president, they often start by turning to executive recruiters.

One of them is Victor Kleinman, who runs the global biopharmaceutical practice at the executive search firm DHR International.

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  • Surprising conclusions from a 2009 Forbes article on succession planning. To quote: ” There is a paradox in succession planning: Internal successors are in many ways lower risk than outsiders, yet surprisingly few promotions are awarded internally. That appears to be because boards often prefer the devil they don’t know to the devil they do”. That article was not pharma specific. In big pharma the model has usually been for the CEO to appoint his 2-3 chieftans and then a horse race ensues for succession. As for leadership qualities it is no accident that Abbott’s Miles White went to Culver Military Academy to groom his future leadership skills. Then again there are CEO’s who are brought in to “re-engineer” the company. No better example than “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap, who cut his teeth at Scott Paper by lopping off 35% of jobs and was the subject of an article entitled “Is your boss a psychopath?”

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