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MWI: Growing in Profile

By Vet-Advantage
August, 2017
New organizational structure at AmerisourceBergen highlights importance of its animal health business

AmerisourceBergen announced a new organizational structure “designed to further align the organization to its customer needs in a more seamless and unified way, while supporting corporate strategy and accelerating growth,” the company announced in a release. The company’s customer-facing offerings will now be aligned under two groups. The first, Pharmaceutical Distribution and Strategic Global Sourcing, will be led by Group President Robert P. Mauch, Pharm.D., Ph.D., and includes the company’s services to pharmacies, health systems, physician practices, pharmacies and alternate care sites as well as AmerisourceBergen’s sourcing, repackaging and specialty pharmacy capabilities.

The second business unit puts animal health front and center. This business unit, Global Commercialization Services and Animal Health, will be led by Group President James F. Cleary, Jr., and includes the company’s solutions for product commercialization and patient access, as well as international development and animal health. 

“AmerisourceBergen has assembled and built best-in-class capabilities to support every stage of pharmaceutical care, with the goal of ensuring access to medicines that create healthier futures for patients,” said Steven H. Collis, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AmerisourceBergen. “This strategy has served as the engine of AmerisourceBergen’s success and we are now evolving our organization to capitalize on our unique portfolio of services. Our vision is to accelerate AmerisourceBergen’s corporate growth by further aligning our operating model to the dynamic customer needs in the health and pharmaceutical industry.”

Vet-Advantage spoke to Cleary, as well as Mark Shaw, who will take over as president of MWI Animal Health, about the changes, their new roles, and the future of the new business unit.

Vet-Advantage: Tell us a little bit about the current changes that are taking place. 

Jim Cleary: Let me start by explaining the bigger AmerisourceBergen picture. The company has organized into two groups – one is called Global Commercialization Services and Animal Health, which I’ve been given the opportunity to run as group president. This group includes AmerisourceBergen’s solutions for product commercialization and patient access, international development and animal health – core areas with strong growth opportunities, both from an organic perspective and through potential acquisition. In addition to animal health, this group includes AmerisourceBergen’s healthcare consulting business, a patient support services organization, and third-party logistics operations for the U.S. and abroad, including a company called World Courier, which specializes in the management and coordination of global specialty logistics for clinical drug trials. The group also includes the international businesses of AmerisourceBergen, principally in Canada and Brazil.

The fact that animal health has remained a core pillar of this new business group is a true demonstration of the importance AmerisourceBergen places on this market, and is an indication of the continued investment we foresee in this space.

The other business group that AmerisourceBergen is organizing into is Pharmaceutical Distribution and Strategic Global Sourcing, led by my colleague and Group President Bob Mauch. This unit consists of our healthcare pharmaceutical business and human healthcare – including service to our retail chain and independent pharmacies, health systems, physician practices, as well as sourcing and specialty pharmacy capabilities. AmerisourceBergen is taking its drug distribution business and specialty medicine distribution business and combining it into one larger business unit that can be centered around the customer.

Vet-Advantage: Where will you be located?

Cleary: The animal health business will continue to remain headquartered in Boise, Idaho. I will be at AmerisourceBergen’s headquarters’ location just outside of Philadelphia, Pa. 

Vet-Advantage: Why the change organizationally? Is it a more effective way to run the business, to separate these units out?

Cleary: It made a lot of sense to combine AmerisourceBergen’s big drug distribution business and specialty medicine distribution business into a single business unit to be centered around the customer. Our industry is changing and we are committed to simplifying and enhancing the experience of working with AmerisourceBergen – which will in turn allow our customers to better meet the needs of the patients and communities they serve.

Vet-Advantage: Mark, tell us about your background.

Mark Shaw: I started my career in 1984 with The Upjohn Company. I was in a sales capacity calling on veterinarians and producers. I worked with The Upjohn Company for 11 years in sales and sales management roles.

I joined Micro Chemical (now Micro Technologies) in 1995 as a sales manager and then became a VP of sales & marketing a year or two after that, and then CEO, president and an owner in 2000. I had that role for Micro until MWI acquired Micro in 2011. Since then I have been president of Micro Technologies.

The company was founded in 1971, with a business model to innovate technologies that could be bundled with the consumable products that we distributed. If you break Micro down into a couple of parts, it’s a technology company that’s made 20-plus useful inventions for animal agriculture. This includes software solutions and electromechanical type solutions. Those technologies measure and manage the pharmaceutical products into the animal populations that we sell to – historically cattle, feedlot, dairy, most recently pork and poultry. Part of the business is technology focused, and the other part was traditionally focused on pharmaceutical distribution. Today, Micro continues to supply feed additives–which would be feed grade pharmaceuticals–as well as, most recently, dairy sanitation products. Micro and MWI work in tandem, with Micro technology placements driving the distribution of animal health packaged goods through MWI.

Vet-Advantage: Jim, what do you hope to bring to the larger organization based upon your experience in the animal health market?

ClearyMWI has experienced terrific growth through the years. I think I can bring that experience, working with the phenomenal team we have within this unit of AmerisourceBergen, in order to grow the business.

Vet-Advantage: Mark, what do you hope to bring to the animal health business in your new role? 

Shaw: I would stay on the same point Jim makes, which is about growth. That’s been one of the important focal points over our respective careers, whether we were competitors or working together. I think some of the ways we focus on growth that have been important to us in the past will continue to be. Things we were able to do from a technology perspective, we want to continue to do, both for the MWI enterprise as well as for what some of the other business units have been doing. Focus on innovation, value and efficiency. We want to accelerate the ways we can innovate for the market and deliver more value, inclusive of both efficiency and service.

I also think the market is in an exciting and unique place – it continues to evolve and mature where things like innovation continue to play an important role in how we differentiate from others.

Vet-Advantage: What about the rest of the leadership team at MWI? Will there be changes that would effect the way business runs?

Shaw: The answer is no. We’ve got an awesome management team and leadership team. We want to continue to invest in the development of that team, and make sure they have the resources needed to accomplish the things we’ve been talking about. We’re in a great position because we’ve got the continuity of Jim as he takes on a broader role, and we’ve got the continuity of the lead team and management team within MWI.

Vet-Advantage: What’s been the reaction of your sales force with these movements?

Shaw: We’re at a sales meeting right now, and the organization has been very supportive of these changes.

Cleary: And I think one thing that our sales force appreciates is that there is a lot of stability within MWI. We’re in a good place in the market right now. It’s a healthy market, and a lot of stability within our company. They even see the profile of animal health within AmerisourceBergen growing in profile.

Vet-Advantage: How do you see MWI moving forward under these changes, both as the animal health unit and part of the larger organization?

Shaw: We have a new purpose statement, and it’s an underpinning to everything we’ve been discussing. From a purpose perspective, we believe this: Your purpose is your why. If you know your purpose, you know your why.

One of the things we’ve done from a AmerisourceBergen company-wide perspective is we have aligned to a new purpose statement – we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. When we think about the unique time we’re in, that’s an important statement for us to make. From an animal health perspective, as the world population grows, our opportunity in creating healthier futures is focusing in on how we enhance and enrich the human-animal bond.

We’ve got a growing global population that requires more food. So we’ve got another imperative of feeding a hungry, growing world. As it relates to the exciting times we’re in, we’re well positioned to strengthen and enhance that human-animal bond and ensure that we’ve got the kinds of solutions that feed a hungry, growing world.

We’re also looking at that purpose statement from the role that animal health plays in the broader AmerisourceBergen enterprises. We’ve spoken about how important it is for animal health to still be in the name, and that’s a reflection of being united. It’s a strong and powerful position to focus in on that why.

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