UWE Distinguished Address: Introducing Ben Osborn, MD, Pfizer UK

Just before stepping up into the President’s role, I had the honour of introducing Ben Osborn, MD of Pfizer, as UWE’s Distinguished Address Speaker in September 2021 for the Annual Bolland Lecture.

Ben’s personal story made his achievements even more amazing ..

Ben graduated from Leeds University and joined Pfizer in 1998. By 2012, Ben was UK Head of Pfizer Oncology, shaping cancer policy.

Four years later Ben became the Chief Marketing Officer across Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, leading on digital transformation and innovative partnerships across the sector.

When looking at the career of such a successful leader, it always makes me want to find out what drives such a person to achieve above and beyond. Because there’s ALWAYS a story.

Ben recently spoke passionately about his own personal purpose in life, and about transformative change NOT “tinkering around the edges”.

Ben’s own personal purpose has been hugely influenced by family and especially his 14-year-old son, who lives with significant disabilities and epilepsy. It has shaped his approach to both his career and his personal life. Not prepared to sit on the sidelines, Ben is a board trustee of Young Epilepsy, and channels his passion for long-distance running into raising money for this and other causes close to his heart. Needless to say, long-distance runners know how to play the long game, which is lucky because it’s a quality we very much need if we’re going to win against this and future pandemics… 

On partnership, Ben has said “The challenges we all face are far too complex for one party to solve in the future. It will require us all coming together and partner in a way we haven’t done so in the past..”

This, he demonstrates perfectly in his role of President of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the industry body which exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines and vaccines. Indeed, The first of his priorities in the role is about building a more resilient NHS post-pandemic, so that no patient is left behind.  That, together with the aim to meet the challenges presented by antimicrobial resistance and environmental sustainability, I think you’ll agree with me that we need more of this sort of corporate activism in partnership, to fix what humanity has broken.

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