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Healthcare and Life Sciences
Executive Search

Novo’s Healthcare and Life Sciences sector experts can help you identify & attract your next exceptional executive.

Executive Search in the Life Science and Healthcare

The healthcare and life sciences sector faces a landscape with overwhelming complexity, ambiguity and shifts in regulation and stakeholders – all with game-changing leadership requirements. Roles and strategies are being redefined as new career paths emerge and support functions turn to drivers of change. Finding innovative business leaders with a deep understanding of science, identifying gaps, up-skilling leaders and defining future leadership skills is essential for success in this dynamic sector.

Our top executive headhunters in the life science and healthcare sector possess first-hand knowledge of the criteria for successful leadership making their perspectives and insight particularly valuable to clients. We have deep expertise in multi-country and global projects, and are highly successful and well known for our work specifically in emerging markets.

Our consultants acknowledge that information and market knowledge become most powerful when combined with the rigor of data and analysis. Our team has access to these unique insights gathered by tracking executive moves, conducting stakeholder surveys, analyzing the assignments we conduct every year and the many thousand candidates we identify every month.

We serve a wide variety of public and private companies from early stage start-ups to large public companies. The team of life science headhunters operates on an integrated global platform, which always allows us to assemble the most appropriate team for every mandate and to not be geographically compromised. A significant number of our placements are cross-border candidates.

Our clients include a number of global life sciences companies in diverse sectors related to life science and healthcare:

  • Medical Devices and Diagnostics
  • Pharmaceuticals and Contract Research Organizations (CROs)
  • Research and Development
  • Healthcare Services
  • Biotechnology
  • Managed Care

To discuss your requirements further please contact

Dale Perrett: [email protected]


Our team has experience working with research institutes as well as large public biotech, private equity and venture capital backed organizations. Our consultants understand both the leadership requirements and the talent landscape, from start-up executives and well-established public company scientists to top-tier board directors. We maintain an alert eye on the shifts in leadership and hiring patterns.

Recent research has indicated that biotech companies are outpacing big pharma in terms of sales growth, income, investment in R&D, and market cap growth during the past three years. The industry is also seeing a new leadership and talent development models with a number of acquisitions, alliances and in-licensing deals.

This explosive growth has led to an increased demand for executive talent with unique skill requirements of understanding science and leading and managing complex projects. Although the demand for talent has outpaced supply, biotech organizations have shown more ingenuity in accessing and hiring from a more diverse pool of talent sources ranging from academics, big pharma, CROs and consulting.

We leverage our expertise in skills and competency together with our team’s enhanced awareness of culture and context – these key components are critical when building high-performance leadership teams for our biotechnology clients.

Healthcare Services

As with all segments of healthcare, the ageing population, health reforms and significant technological advancements continue to serve as key drivers of growth in this space and will continue to shape the future executives who lead it. Adding to the complexity of managing in this environment, poised leaders need to balance the rigours of various government regulatory bodies and high executive turnover. Combined, these market forces have placed a premium on finding best-in-class leadership.

Hospital boards are made up of a diverse group of stakeholders, including physicians, employees, volunteers and community organizations. Our team’s specialty is guiding a search committee and board in recruiting executives who are not only good for today, but capable for creating a long-term strategy to manage through this change.

We have access to ‘best in class’ healthcare executives built through years of engagements with clients and candidates. This insight allows our team to identify succession issues, look at non-traditional talent pools, and recruit with an enhanced awareness of the cultural context of an organization.

Managed Care

Novo serves a diverse group of clients, including health insurance, managed care and pharmacy benefits management, medical malpractice, reinsurance, group health benefits and risk management. We know from our work in the field that the leadership challenge is to create and communicate a new value proposition to healthcare providers and consumers.

Companies in these areas are competing for pre-eminence within an industry deeply affected by Medicare and Medicaid issues, as well as the rising costs of pharmaceuticals and technology.

Our team has significant experience in recruiting board members, chief executives, medical officers, finance executives, IT leaders, legal and commercial leaders for some of the largest health insurers. We also work in niche functions around provider networking, contract management, quality and product development.

Leadership across many healthcare industry channels are struggling with the transition of the healthcare marketplace from a provider-dominated, decision-making enterprise, to a consumer-directed, consumer-controlled system. Managed care organizations will take the lead in reforming healthcare delivery and having the right leadership is critical to how they utilize this opportunity.

Medical Devices and Diagnostics

The growth within this industry has been fuelled by burgeoning home healthcare services for aging populations as well as by new therapies, procedures and diagnostic tools. The executives who are charged to lead these highly technical industries need to possess skills that are quite different from other sectors. Our team understands that innovation and technological mastery are essential elements, complimented by a thorough and practical knowledge of reimbursement and outcomes criteria that is necessary to run a successful medical technology business.

Pharmaceuticals and Contract Research Organizations

Our team believes that while innovation still remains a foundational requirement for the future, so does a coherent plan on how best to lead the business and people towards a common objective. New leaders need to have strong relationship and influencing skills to align and integrate competing interests of complex stakeholder groups. With the constant pressure for growth, leaders with the ability to inspire, engage and drive high performance from their teams are currently in short supply.

We work extensively with the ‘big’ pharmaceuticals companies, but also have considerable experience in placing transformational leaders at specialty pharma, local and transnational generics, consumer healthcare, drug development centers and start-up organizations.

The pharmaceuticals industry today is in a transition phase. As organizations rush to adapt to changing business models and address key industry issues (patent cliff, generics, shareholder value, return on R&D, health reforms, Rx to OTC conversions, market access), they often overlook the people who are responsible for bringing in these changes – the leaders capable of taking them in the future.

However, what happens when transformation itself becomes an area of concern? How can organizations transform if the ‘drivers of change’ are not prepared for change? Our experts help clients mitigate these risks through recruiting, developing and retaining the talent that is able to address this imperative. Our consultants come from industry, academics and consulting backgrounds with many possessing medical and scientific qualifications. We align with clients in all major markets of the world and have significant experience in global assignments and emerging markets.

Our global reach ensures that while global trends impact local talent strategies, individual markets also learn from each other’s experience as they navigate through this maze. An unduly centralized or inappropriately decentralized model of leadership disconnected from the realities of the market place is no longer valid.

Research and Development

We believe that difficult questions must be addressed around the current R&D leadership in place, as well as the profile of the next generation of leaders required to successfully drive this change:

  • How should R&D success be defined beyond the “blockbuster” model?
  • What are the hallmarks of a successful R&D organization and culture? How do we compare?
  • How do we develop the R&D leaders of tomorrow?

Our work encompasses traditional roles in drug discovery and development, clinical strategy and operations, medical affairs, drug safety and compliance, quality and regulatory, as well as upcoming functions in translational and quantitative sciences, personalized medicine and genetics. We also specialize in senior R&D leadership roles including Chief Scientific Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Head of Discovery Research, Head of Clinical Development and Head of Regulatory.

We develop a deep understanding of key leadership trends in R&D and medical leadership through proprietary surveys and proactive talent mapping projects. This rigor in data generation and analysis is supplemented by direct conversations with industry leaders on a wide range of topics.

  • Dale Perrett
    Sector Specialist
    Dale Perrett Founding Director

    Looking to retain a headhunting search practice?

    Are you looking for an exceptional executive in the Healthcare or Life Sciences sectors? Contact Novo and discuss your needs with one of our Healthcare and Life Science industry experts.

    Call: 0844 241 2064
  • Ryan Mills
    Sector Specialist
    Ryan Mills Director

    Looking to retain a headhunting search practice?

    Are you looking for an exceptional executive in the Healthcare or Life Sciences sectors? Contact Novo and discuss your needs with one of our Healthcare and Life Science industry experts.

    Call: 0844 241 2064
  • Jon Hollier
    Sector Specialist
    Jon Hollier Founding Director

    Looking to retain a headhunting search practice?

    Are you looking for an exceptional executive in the Healthcare or Life Sciences sectors? Contact Novo and discuss your needs with one of our Healthcare and Life Science industry experts.

    Call: 0844 241 2064



  • “My personal experience with Novo was really good. They had all the information I needed whilst being professional, discreet and considerate, which ultimately made the whole process extremely smooth.” Account Director, Catalina Marketing

  • “Novo was appointed to search for a new Managing Director for Chiorino UK Ltd. The UK division (one of 60 divisions worldwide) has traded for over 40 years. Novo were able to access the very best candidates, keeping us fully informed throughout the process. From the initial list of candidates presented to us we were able to recruit a successor. We were delighted with Ryan’s work. We would have no hesitation in recommending Novo.”

  • “Following a robust selection process it was clear that Novo had the right credentials and through Dale exhibited a level of competence and understanding which made my decision to engage with Novo very easy. As a result of Novo’s commitment and hard work we have acquired 5 very good businesses. We plan to embark on a third round of acquisitions next year and will have no hesitation in choosing Novo as a partner.”

  • “Thank you very much for your involvement in identifying our new Product Development Director and managing a very smooth process. This was a significant recruitment process for our business and I am very pleased with how it has gone from start to finish.”

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