Charting the right course

View from the Boardroom | Fri 15 Jul | Author – Business & Finance Aidan Lynch

Aidan Lynch talks to Business & Finance about his plans for the future of GSK.

Global, research-based healthcare company, GSK has deep ties in Ireland, employing 1,600 people across four different sites, and is the fourth largest employer in the pharmaceutical sector.

Aidan Lynch, is the vice president and general manager, GSK Pharmaceuticals Ireland, and has been with the company since 2001.

Lynch says there are three words that describe his leadership approach: “Honest, direct and values-based. I think my team would say I am very approachable and absolutely sign up to an open door policy.”

Outside of work, Lynch is a keen sailor and he says he is a firm believer in setting direction. “My job as a leader is to set the course for my team but then let them get on with it. How they do this though is really important to me. GSK makes its business decisions based on its values of patient focus, integrity, transparency and respect. This is hugely important to me and is a moral compass that guides my leadership style.”

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

According to Lynch, GSK has an inspiring mission of helping people to do more, feel better and live longer.

“Working with my team and helping them develop as leaders is a big part of my job. Once goals are defined and agreed, success then is largely in their hands. Its my job to help clear the way for them and ensure they get all the support and development they need to succeed,” he explains. Lynch also believes that if you want to be successful, its important to surround yourself with talented people.

There are lots of ways we can work with the government to help ensure this doesn’t happen, but firstly we need to all agree that early access to innovative medicines is a shared goal

Currently, there are a number of challenges for Irish healthcare and there are clearly many competing areas to resource. “In terms of medicines, there are a lot of conversations around their affordability,” Lynch says. “Our challenge is to reframe this conversation so we discuss medicines in terms of the value they bring to healthcare, rather than treating them as a pure expense. Science and treatments are improving all the time and we are finding new and better ways to treat, cure and in some cases prevent diseases.

“But there is no point in companies like GSK researching and developing these innovative new treatments if patients ultimately cannot get them. There are lots of ways we can work with the government to help ensure this doesn’t happen, but firstly we need to all agree that early access to innovative medicines is a shared goal.”

MEASURING SUCCESS

When it comes to defining and measuring success, Lynch says: “I’m an accountant and former finance director, so old habits die hard. The first place I look on a Monday morning is the numbers. We are ultimately accountable to our shareholders so we need to continue to grow and adapt and play our part in the global GSK strategy, and commercial success is clearly a big part of that.”

VALUE PROPOSITION

Aidan Lynch GSKHowever, Lynch also maintains it’s not all about the numbers and that there is a wider purpose.

“GSK is of course looking to be commercially successful but its also looking to challenge the role a healthcare company can play in the world. Going back to values again, things have to be done the right way so we can all be proud of our success.”

According to Lynch, GSK has undergone massive change in the last 10 years and the company has had to restructure a number of times in response to changes in the healthcare environment.

“The Irish economy is back growing again so I hope that healthcare expenditure can also return to growth in line with GDP as we all recover slowly,” Lynch explains.

“It has been a challenging number of years for the pharmaceuticals industry, so it is a testament to Aidan Lynch and his team at GSK that the company continues to develop and make available innovative new medicines and vaccines, while also developing new products,” Jim Dowdall, CEO of GloHealth concludes. 

Business & Finance, A View from the Boardroom

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