How Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics Turned Around the Ship it Got From Chiron

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establish a series of quality improvement programs, to stabilize the company’s supply channels, and establish quality controls.

By January 2008, Novartis had replaced the entire management team. Stober said Novartis Vaccines created its core operations management team through a global recruiting effort to hire executives with “a winning spirit who were willing and able to fix the airplane while flying,”

Bulk Production of H1N1 Vaccine

Bulk Production of H1N1 Vaccine

At the same time, Novartis also was busy filling its ranks with more technically trained employees (instead of only science-based skills). Among other things, Stober said they found in 2006 that Chiron employed just 98 engineers in a global workforce of nearly 5,500 employees. By 2009, however, the number of engineers had increased to 280.

“If you bring in 50, 60 top-flight folks out of schools from different parts of the world, bring them into your organization and do that a couple of times, people just begin to realize, ‘Wow, that guy is smart,’ and—It’s not that you’re afraid, but you just step up your game,” Stober said.

Of course, many of the former Chiron employees also were motivated to become Novartis true believers as they saw their co-workers and managers replaced. But more than 3,000 of … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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