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Courage pays off

Elodie Weber
Elodie Weber, Head of Healthcare France

Beiersdorf's Healthcare business in France is characterized by a special approach: two brands – two channels. While Hansaplast is sold on the mass market, Elastoplast is available in pharmacies. But this model did not seem to bring success and a strategic turnaround was needed! Normally, starting a process like this means one thing above all: The necessary tasks are distributed among the employees who are already working at full capacity. However, our Leadership Team reacted to the special situation in France with a special measure: A new position was created in order to lead the whole process. The function owner should be given the freedom to pursue this task with full dedication. There was therefore only one objective for the fixed period of 6 months: The development of a clear strategy for the turnaround. Elodie Weber was entrusted with this position and reports on her experience in the following interview.

Elodie, what was your first thought when you were offered leadership of the turnaround task force?

Elodie Weber: “Right from the start I knew what a challenge I was getting involved in. A strategic turnaround requires more than a SWOT analysis. Above all, a strong team is important. We were a total of twelve colleagues from different areas and each of us contributed his or her own views and experiences. We also had a strong sparring partner in Thomas Blondel, our Regional Director for Healthcare. The interdisciplinary collaboration was absolutely valuable and enriching. It has enabled us to take a comprehensive look at the challenges and optimization approaches. In addition, we had an ambitious goal. To achieve this goal, full commitment and 100 percent focus were indispensable. Through my special function I was given the opportunity to do just that. It's a rarity, and I'm very grateful for it. To sum it all up, the successful turnaround is based on a strong triple collaboration: a dedicated resource as leader, an interdisciplinary local team as solution builder and a Regional Director as coach.”

Has this approach paid off?

Elodie Weber: “Yes, absolutely! Only four months after the start of the project, we presented our new strategy to Vincent Warnery (Member of Executive Board Pharmacy & Selective Brands). This strategy was also implemented shortly afterwards. It is based on the clear focus on the pharmacy channel and on the wound care category with Elastoplast. The energy and capacities for which both brands previously had to compete are thus used in a more targeted way. Hansaplast still exists on the French market with a new, centralized customer orientation. Elastoplast, however, has become the clear focus since the turnaround about a year ago.”

What developments can be seen in Healthcare since then?

Elodie Weber: “The first results are very strong! In the pharmacy business we achieved a clear double-digit percentage growth in turnover and sales in our focus category Wound Care also increased significantly. We have focused our strategy on wound care in line with the Global Healthcare Strategy defined by our Global General Manager Alexander Reindler and his leadership team. And we haven't even reached the end yet. We expect this positive development to continue. A great success, not least due to our sales managers Stéphanie Hutinet and Stéphane Madesclaire, who brought our new strategy to life with their teams and also thanks to the regional team that did not just support but actually enabled us to realize the turnaround.”

What are you taking with you from this special project?

Elodie Weber: “The project has once again clearly shown that teamwork and commitment are the key to success! But it also took courage: We have questioned the status quo, quickly and ambitiously developed ideas and made decisions. This is important, because without courageous decisions this success would not have been possible. Personally, I have learned a lot during this time – especially thanks to the interdisciplinary collaboration with my new colleagues. At that time I was just coming out of NIVEA marketing and a lot of things were new to me. That was challenging but the opportunity that has been given to me was an excellent stepping stone for my career and I got promoted to Head of Healthcare France! The turnaround shows that hard work pays off but in addition to the success, enthusiasm has remained above all. I am therefore especially pleased that my path will continue to lead me through the world of Healthcare.”

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Carolin Schreyer

About the editor: Carolin Schreyer

Carolin is responsible for our Pharmacy and Selective Brands within the Corporate Communications team. In this way she takes care of international communication projects of brands like Eucerin, Hansaplast and La Prairie.