|Martin Mackay: I've always liked his grin. (Credit: 1kpharm)|
Thursday, April 26, 2012
On Martin Mackay -- when does your record become your record?
He's since moved to AstraZeneca, where he appears to be making a number of interesting moves, including changing many research heads and forming a new virtual neuroscience collaborations group, which seems to have the unfortunate name of iMed.* There have been, of course, rounds of layoffs in the R&D divisions.
Layoffs aren't always their fault, for sure -- shareholders, CEOs, the board probably has some role in demanding 'reductions in headcount.' Also, the discoveries and successes of the scientists in their organizations aren't necessarily theirs, either. But through their "go/no-go" decisions and their personnel moves, they do have some impact on their organizations.
My question about Dr. Mackay and other heads of large pharma R&D: at what point are they responsible for the scientific success of their respective companies? In the American football world, "true" coaching success seems to be described as: winning games and championships with players that you have selected, as opposed to winning with players that have been selected by previous coaching staffs (think Jon Gruden's early success versus his later years.) The common rule of thumb for judging the success of college-level coaches is the results of their 3rd or 4th full season. Is 3 years enough for heads of R&D?
So when do we get to judge Dr. Mackay's tenure at either Pfizer or Astra-Zeneca? And what constitutes a failure to succeed, such that the reins of large research organizations get taken away from them?
*This is a continuation of common thought that anything having to do with Apple is the height of technology and innovation. I'm less than convinced with this marketing decision.