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All things Pharma

Career Insights – with comments from Lucy Randle, STAR Medical

Chris Hancock joined Napp Pharmaceuticals Ltd in 1992, straight out of university. He is still with the company 14 years on. Pf spoke to him about his journey from representative to Director of Sales within the same company.

What was your previous experience before joining Napp Pharmaceuticals?

I started straight from university in 1992, having achieved a BSc Hons in Geography and an MSc in Environmental Resources. I joined the industry because it offered a good salary with excellent career path opportunities.

What roles have you held within the company?

Medical Salesperson, Field Training Manager, Regional Business Manager, Divisional Business Manager, Head of Sales, Director of Sales, and soon to be Director of European Marketing Services for our European affiliate company, Mundipharma.

What do you find most rewarding about your current job?

The variety of the role. As Sales Director of a medium-sized company, you are involved in numerous projects which span the whole business and give you a great insight into the bigger picture. Large pharma can quite often restrict the breadth of experience, as roles tend to be narrower in scope and potentially less rewarding. I was recently involved in the launch of BuTrans, our new 7-day patch for osteoarthritis, and have been able to work with a great team of people over the last two years to bring BuTrans to market. To watch BuTrans become our most successful launch ever is very rewarding indeed!











What do you find most challenging?

Keeping up with my diary! I used to be in a position where I had adequate time to prepare for meetings. The challenge with being involved in so many projects is that the preparation time diminishes, which means you have to do more thinking on your feet. In any role you need to be effective at managing your time and I find this to be ever more challenging as my career progresses.

What would be your advice to someone hoping to develop their career within one company?

Take advice from as many different people as you can. Everyone has a different perspective on the best way to develop your career and you need to find the balance between other people’s opinions and your own. I would also add that you need to push yourself out of your comfort zones when the opportunity arises and accept that fear is not to be feared. It’s only by taking the difficult first steps that you discover what you are truly capable of.

What is it that has kept you at Napp after all these years?

The people. Napp is an amazing company to work for and that’s because it has some extremely talented, dedicated and fun people working here, I have always been proud to work for Napp and that feeling strengthens as the years go by. Anyone who has ever worked for Napp would agree that we have a very positive ‘can do’ culture which sets us apart from the rest. Napp is special and long may that continue!











Lucy Randle provides some insight into the difference between managing and leading:

As Sales Director, Chris is at the helm of a significant team of sales professionals. In order to maximise the results of each individual and the team as a whole, he must demonstrate not only effective management but also enhanced leadership behaviours. We take a brief look at what differentiates management from leadership.

The word leadership comes from the old English word ‘lad’ for a course. The word ‘management’ comes from the Latin word ‘manus’, the hand, from which we also derive ‘maintenance’. Bringing these two concepts together then, we can see that leadership guides by setting a ship’s course. Management keeps a hand on the tiller. The following table highlights some key differentiators:


So what defines successful leaders? Excellent leaders almost certainly have well-honed interpersonal skills and high levels of emotional intelligence. They are also skilled at:

  • Creating focus
  • Communicating compellingly
  • Establishing trust
  • Focusing on success.

To be an inspirational leader within the pharmaceutical industry, whatever your role you need to challenge yourself to:

  • Develop positive self-regard
  • Accept that strength comes from harnessing diversity
  • Approach relationships in the present, not in the past
  • Treat those close to you as courteously as you treat casual acquaintances
  • Trust others even if the risk seems great
  • Live without constant approval/recognition.

Leadership sees people as being capable of things they never thought possible. It deals with the future and how people could perform if their potential were realised. What could you achieve if you started leading more and managing less?

Sponsored by STAR Medical

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