BIO Shakes Things Up to Align Leadership with New Vision

BIO CEO Michelle McMurry-Heath_BIO website

BIO CEO Michelle McMurry-Heath. (BIO website)

Less than a year after taking over the reins, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Chief Executive Officer Michelle McMurry-Heath is reorganizing the organization's leadership structure.

BIO said the new structure will provide long-term stability for the organization’s ambitious agenda. In a brief statement, McMurry-Heath said the reorganization of BIO’s leadership structure will enable the organization to have a greater focus on its key goals of advocacy, education and collaboration.

“Our excellent leadership team will have the freedom to bring a more laser-like focus to their areas of responsibility, allowing us to accomplish the goals of our strategic vision more efficiently and more effectively,” McMurry-Heath said in a statement.

Some of the new members of the BIO leadership team were quietly put in place before the end of the year, including Chief Financial Officer Stephen Jasko, who replaced Yvette White-Wiggins in a role she held since 2016. Jasko joined BIO in October 2020. Before BIO, he served as CFO for two non-profit organizations. His pharmaceutical industry experience includes six years at Celgene and nearly 10 years at Merck.

Other members of the streamlined executive team include Chief Policy Officer Tom DiLenge; Chief Science Officer Cartier Esham; Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Elliott Francis; Executive Vice President in charge of Advocacy Jeanne Haggerty; Chief Public Affairs and Advocacy Officer Rich Masters; Chief Legal Officer Peter McHugh; and, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer Dana O’Brien. BIO said some staff reductions were made to align the organization for the new strategic direction. In its announcement, BIO said the reorganized structure will soon include a new chief operating officer and chief marketing officer.

The new strategic vision for BIO, which was first announced in October, includes five pillars for its advocacy and activities. BIO said it developed its new vision following one-on-one conversations with member companies, extensive strategic planning sessions, a broad membership survey and several focus groups. The five pillars are:

  • Be a voice of science and for science.
  • Unite and empower biotech innovators and their ecosystem to improve lives.
  • Remove barriers to innovation.
  • Champion broad access to biotech breakthroughs and scientific equality.
  • Catalyze resilient and sustainable bio-based economies.

“We need to be the face and the voice of science—speaking up for the millions of families around the globe who depend upon our success. That means being bold, memorable, and—at times—provocative. But if we are as proud of our scientists and as committed to our patients and consumers as I know we are, then it is not only the best tactic, it is our duty,” McMurry-Heath said when BIO first announced the new strategic vision.

BIO anticipates its streamlined structure will allow it to continue to provide digital partnering events, such as those that dominated the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BIO said last year it facilitated more than 37,000 partnering meetings. During the virtual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference earlier this month, BIO said it scheduled more than 10,000 meetings, which the organization said is an indication of the industry’s enthusiasm for partnerships and collaboration. BIO expects to offer virtual-only events throughout most of 2021.

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