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Global Pharmaceutical Client Success Story

See how we helped a global pharma giant rebuild their entire global privacy team.

By Victoria Jackson

Our client, a global pharmaceutical giant, instructed us to rebuild their global privacy team following a restructuring. Our first task was to find a Chief Privacy Officer, a qualified lawyer with extensive leadership and transformation experience. This person would rebuild relationships with key stakeholder groups and advance our client’s digital and privacy agenda in a highly regulated, traditional and cautious corporate environment. The role could be in the US or the UK, so we ran a dual search.

We advised on the new global privacy team structure, headcount allocation, budgets and resource planning. After successfully appointing the Chief Privacy Officer, we worked to build the team of Associate General Counsel (“AGC”) to support this role. These positions could be in the US, UK or Europe, so we assessed multiple markets to uncover the best talent. We placed an AGC to support the commercial business, an AGC for R&D, an AGC Cybersecurity AGC and an AGC who would serve as European DPO and manage a team of country privacy advisors.

Global Pharmaceutical Client Success Story
Global Pharmaceutical Client Success Story

The Challenges

  • Supply vs. Demand: Privacy is a bustling area. Many companies are looking for the same skills and experience. The pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector is catching up when it comes to privacy and digital, so the candidate pool in this space is still maturing, meaning we have very few candidates who can combine substantive privacy expertise
    with industry experience. We had to attract and engage a small pool of talent, and that pool is frequently approached about multiple opportunities.
  • Unique experience: Our client needed experienced privacy lawyers who could combine operational expertise with an ability to contribute to digital and privacy strategy. We looked for lawyers who were tech literate and could work closely with the tech team on digital, privacy AI and data ethics. We also needed lawyers who are exceptional networkers and relationship builders, as this team build was part of a more comprehensive internal rebrand for privacy. Emotional intelligence and leadership experience were critical, so we had to discount purely operational privacy lawyers. For the US hires, finding candidates with multi-jurisdictional experience was more challenging as the talent pool there tends to focus more on North America and sometimes is slightly broader and covers the Americas. Candidates with international experience are harder to find but do exist.
  • Flexible working: Our client has a hybrid working policy, which requires 2-3 days a week in the office. While not a huge problem for European or UK hires, it was more challenging in the US, where many of the best privacy lawyers worked primarily or completely remotely and were unwilling to compromise that flexibility.
  • Budget: Due to supply and demand, privacy is often an expensive area to hire in, especially when a candidate has industry experience, as that commands a premium. We operated with strict budgets and had to align privacy compensation with the compensation levels in the wider legal and compliance team, which could sometimes be challenging.

The Outcome

We successfully placed all positions, and 50% of these placements were diverse candidates. We helped our client attract some of the world’s leading experts in this field. We were able to do this in a highly competitive space because of our deep understanding of our client’s culture, growth plan, strategy and current internal challenges. Understanding what our client wanted to achieve enabled us to carefully represent their vision in the market and engage exceptional professionals who would lead the way within our client’s business and this industry. They shall serve as market experts, lobbyists and spokespeople for privacy within healthcare. Satisfied with our performance, the hiring manager referred us to another part of the business where we are now embedding privacy within the employee services organisation. We have since placed another senior privacy expert to manage employee data.

“You have been so great here. I really appreciate your help and the depth of your knowledge of this area and talent pool. It has been impressive.”

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