LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT - DR. SEVERIN SCHWAN, CEO OF ROCHE GROUP
Dr. Severin Schwan has been the Chief Executive Officer of Roche Group since 2008. He earned his degree in Economics at the University of Innsbruck, University of York and University of Oxford, Mag. rer.soc.oec. (Innsbruck, 1991). He also studied Law at the University of Innsbruck, Mag. iur. (Innsbruck, 1991). He earned his Doctorate in Law at the University of Innsbruck, Research studies at University Louvain, Belgium, Dr. iur. (Innsbruck, 1993).
Dr. Schwan is a member of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding Ltd. He is also a member of the Board of Directors (since 2017 Vice Chairman) of Credit Suisse Group AG. He is a member of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai (IBLAC), since 2022 he has been the Vice Chairman.
Throughout its 125-year history, Roche has grown into one of the world’s largest biotech companies, as well as a leading provider of in-vitro diagnostics and a global supplier of transformative innovative solutions across major disease areas. Its commitment to its people, partners, stakeholders and, most importantly, its patients remains as strong as it was on the first day of the company's journey.
"I am very optimistic about the future. We have an outstanding pipeline and – thanks to our combination of pharma and diagnostics with data science – a very good opportunity to make significant advances in personalised healthcare."
What inspires you?
We are fortunate to be able to make a meaningful difference in the fight against COVID-19. This is what really inspires me about Roche: the impact we can make on people’s lives.
The Roche culture
Roche has faced and overcome many challenges in its near 125 years. I believe the solidarity and community we are experiencing now will bring us closer together, and there is no doubt that we will come out of this even stronger.
Excellence in science
Roche uses a large number of research approaches to develop new medicines. Our new engagement in gene therapy brings hope to people with rare diseases in particular.
How to foster innovation
Scientific success cannot be programmed, but we can create the conditions that will allow it to happen: being open to new ideas, having the courage to take risks; our researchers need to have the freedom to work on their ideas and above all, they need a positive space in which ideas are shared and independent thinking is encouraged.
How do you cope with stress?
I believe the ‘everyday’ pressure only turns into stress if you feel that the world will stop turning if you’re not around. However, of course the world does keep on turning. Not overestimating your own importance helps you to do your job effectively.
The courage to fail
There’s no success without failure! When you’re pursuing ground-breaking innovation, setbacks go with the territory. Unless you have the courage to fail, you’ll never succeed. It is my strong belief that we should celebrate our failures just as we celebrate our successes.
I am very optimistic about the future. We have an outstanding pipeline and – thanks to our combination of pharma and diagnostics with data science – a very good opportunity to make significant advances in personalised healthcare.
Access to healthcare
We want to ensure that everyone has access to our diagnostic solutions and medicines. I am proud that Roche was one of the first companies to introduce differentiated pricing. Solidarity between the rich and poor countries is essential to improving access around the world.
Where does Roche stand when it comes to protecting the environment?
It is part of our history. Just think of Luc Hoffmann, who invested all his energies and a lot of money in environmental protection back in the 1950s, at a time when hardly anyone was aware of the issue. Sustainability was vital to Roche before the term had even been coined.
Roche’s success is rooted in its set up – it is led by science and designed for innovation. We foster a diversity of scientific approaches and embrace innovative ideas. Combining that with the seamless integration of our capabilities in Roche Pharma and Roche Diagnostics, we are uniquely positioned to achieve medical breakthroughs for patients and society.
For more information about Roche, visit: roche.com
This feature appeared in World Biz Magazine's Q2, 2022 Issue