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Vice President, Business Excellence & Innovation, Germany AstraZeneca

Location: Wedel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Job reference: R-043148
Posted date: Jan. 18, 2019

VP Business Excellence & Innovation (Member of Senior Management Team)

The VP Business Excellence & Innovation reports directly to the Managing Director AZ Germany and is an important counterpart for all strategic and operational issues and as a driver for initiating and implementing innovative business concepts and processes, always with the goal to simplify, improve and optimize the business activities of AZ in Germany.

The VP BE&I is the champion for driving Digital Innovation, Operational and Launch Excellence, as well as the development of advanced integrated multichannel approaches and innovative customer solutions in Germany. The responsibility encompasses development and implementation of strategies and processes in the areas of SFE, Key account management, marketing excellence, launch excellence, enhancement of commercial capabilities, events management, integrated and innovative multichannel concepts (including Digital), business analytics and insights and CRM management.

The VP BE&I will also champion, in close collaboration with the Business Leaders of CVRM and RIA, a continuous improvement in commercial excellence of a large Contract Sales Organization, fully dedicated to driving the primary care brands of AstraZeneca Germany.

The inclusion of Medical Excellence and Training Activities is TBC.

Specific responsibilities

Digital Innovation:

Defining and bringing to life the digital strategic vision to express AstraZeneca’s values and redefine its business model for the digital age.

The VP BE&I will define and lead the digital strategic vision for Germany, integrating digital channels with more traditional parts of the business. The ability to anticipate future consequences from evolving technologies, patient needs & preferences and trends means that this individual will be able to seize business opportunities, manage the challenges they present and set a clear direction for change. As such, this role will transform and lead the digital landscape internally and externally, determining where AstraZeneca needs to disrupt, transform or innovate to build new competitive advantages through digital. To do this, the VP BE&I will suggest and build new digital capabilities that ensure AstraZeneca Germany is delivering innovative, dynamic and sustainable solutions - creating a seamless and customer centric culture across all aspects of the business.

Operational and Launch Excellence (incl. CRO management)

The VP BE&I will drive and be accountable for driving Launch Excellence across all TAs by ensuring that global standards are known, adhered to by fostering sharing best practice. This includes the accountability for a tailored customer relationship management approach for Germany based on global standards that meets the local business needs and maximizes the impact.

Integrated Multichannel Approach & Innovative Customer Solutions

The VP BE&I will build and lead a team of experts in Sales & Marketing Excellence, SFE, Insights & Analytics, Digital Innovation and Events organization, and will support the business objectives through the development and implementation of integrated multichannel strategies, concepts, ideas and services. This team will also develop, and monitor the adherence to, digital governance policies, procedures and operational frameworks. The VP B&I bring disruptive thinking and a proven track record of results and leadership to build and manage high performing teams that will also develop and implement innovative and value-adding services and solutions to both patients and health care professionals.

This will require forging a new path, navigating and influencing key stakeholders to constructively challenge current practice, conventional wisdoms and accepted ways of doing things. At the same time s/he will have significant commercial, operational and technological experience which supports bridge building, integration and collaboration – both locally and with the global AstraZeneca team so that initiatives are aligned, pilot opportunities identified, and best practice shared. S/he will be responsible for defining agile ways of working, governance and architecture within AstraZeneca Germany to deliver the right business solutions and to realize its ambitions. The ideal candidate will have experience in identifying competitive advantages through data driven insights as well as building the required competences across the organization.

Key areas of responsibility will include:


Be a main driver in the ongoing digital transformation of AstraZeneca.

Build bridges between the digital and traditional parts of the business, to stimulate thinking about how to integrate digital effectively to create a seamless customer experience and structure

Define the needed agile ways of working, governance and architecture within AstraZeneca’s business model to deliver the right business solutions.

Change Management:

Devise and lead appropriate change management programs to enable digital to be embedded across all aspects of the business

User Experience:

Defining and executing the digital customer and co-worker experience, ensuring it is consistent and effective across all aspects of the business.


Working closely with the marketing, market access and customer

Facing teams to drive customer acquisition and retention strategies.

Build digital capability to leverage commercial opportunities.

Sales Force Excellence:

Driving local sales force effectiveness initiatives

Track and manage sales force performance and driving corrective actions for relevant SFE KPI’s

Segmentation and targeting:

Collaborating closely with marketing to research, develop and define the strategy to profile, segment and target AZ’s customers


Manage and drive adaptation of evolving CRM tools across country

Commercial analytics:

Designing and implementing sales analytics to benchmark and measure sales force activities, and sales momentum and growth

Being responsible for defining and leading sales efficiency indicators (KPI’s) through appropriate analysis

Sales incentive management:

Working closely with C&B to shape annual sales incentives schemes to

ensure competitiveness and motivational impact while driving strategic behavioral change

Key account management:

Driving development and evolution of the key account management mindset and implementing international key account management strategies

Creating and leading ad-hoc strategic projects and processes to support local top-line and bottom-line growth

Continuously developing the commercial excellence organization further

Marketing excellence (e.g. brand planning and brand plan quality as well as market research activities)

Qualification & Experience


The candidate should have a university degree or equivalent, preferably with an emphasis on business administration or commercial functions

Language skills: Fluent in German (or willing to learn fast) and Business English (excellent written and verbal communication)

Professional experience

  • Experience in an innovative business climate, preferably having a strong digital background, with a strong career track and sufficient potential to grow (preferably towards a BUD role).
  • Extensive experience of innovation and product development in the digital arena.
  • Proven track record of results, growth and leadership business development with a focus on digital capabilities
  • Experience in senior commercial excellence/sales force excellence/sales operations roles, preferably within a major pharmaceutical/healthcare company is also a possibility
  • Preferably operational experience in sales and/or marketing management combined with in-depth knowledge of key account management structures
  • In-depth knowledge of CRM systems
  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
  • Used to perform in complex structures which require interface management on a national and international level
  • The ability to create and articulate an inspiring vision for the organization, not only for the areas s/he is directly responsible for, but the enterprise as a whole.
  • The inclination to seek and analyse data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organization's overall strategy.
  • An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries within the industry.
  • A leader who is self-reflective and aware of his/her own limitations; leads by example and drives the organization's performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.
  • Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • An ability to inspire trust and followership in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, passion in his/her beliefs, and active drive.

Leadership Competencies & Personal Characteristics

  • A true team player with a cooperative and integrated approach towards team management
  • Strong customer focus with an in-depth understanding of all sales and marketing processes
  • Strong analytical and conceptual skills
  • Ability to convince & persuade even in controversial situations
  • Pragmatic, hands-on and dynamic approach to implementation
  • Creativity and ability to innovate
  • Results orientation
  • Strong personality associated with assertiveness, stamina and commitment
  • Willingness to continuous personal development
  • Willingness to travel


Reports to General Manager AstraZeneca Germany (Hans Sijbesma)

Team size will be reevaluated due to the increasing area of responsibility of Business Excellence & Innovation

  • Close and continuous collaboration with all members of AZs senior management team, especially with the Managing Director, the BU Heads, the Sales & Marketing Directors, the Medical Leads and the Patient Affairs team.
  • Continuous collaboration with the region, especially in the context of project work in the areas of Digital, eDetailing, Sales Force Excellence, Marketing Excellence, etc.
  • Close and continuous collaboration with the exclusive contract sales organization (CSO) Santis