Executive perspectives: Stephen Whitehead

Paul Tunnah interviews Stephen Whitehead

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry

Following the launch of a new series earlier this year looking at perspectives from those leading organisations and companies, pharmaphorum managed to catch up with the CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the major association for UK research-based pharma. Stephen Whitehead has come into this role relatively recently, re-joining our industry in mid-2011 after a period outside and bringing with him some fresh perspectives on the challenges faced by pharma.

In this broad ranging interview, we discuss not only the role of the ABPI within both the UK and the broader global pharma sector, but also hear Stephen’s thoughts on some of the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry. In particular, we explore whether we should be more optimistic about the outlook for companies developing new medicines, what the key game-changers are and how pharma can deal with some of the reputational issues it faces. In addition, Stephen shares with us his views on the emerging digital landscape, what he thinks is appropriate in this space and whether more guidance is needed.

To listen to the full interview, please click on the play button below.


0:15 – Why Stephen returned to pharma and what he learned from outside.

1:04 – How the ABPI can support the industry through a period of change.

2:04 – Influence of the ABPI beyond the UK on the broader global scene.

2:56 – Stephen’s vision for the future of pharma.

4:15 – Addressing the reputational issues faced by pharma.

5:34 – Key game changers for pharma and impact on the ABPI.

6:38 – Digital: should there be more guidance provided?

8:39 – How the UK can remain a key global centre for pharma.

10:09 – Stephen’s ambition for the ABPI by the end of his tenure.

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About the interviewee:

Stephen Whitehead is Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK. Its members supply 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing over two-thirds of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.

Stephen’s most recent role was Group Communications Director at Prudential PLC and he has previously held senior leadership roles at Barclays PLC and Allied Domecq PLC. He has a strong personal passion and commitment to the pharmaceutical industry and earlier in his career spent ten years at Glaxo and Eli Lilly at UK, European and international level. Stephen has in-depth experience of working in regulated industries, has led significant change and modernisation programmes and has extensive experience of developing high performing teams.

For more information about the ABPI please visit www.abpi.org.uk.

What influence does the UK have on the global pharma industry?