For Roche CEO, Celebrating Failure Is Key To Success

Published: Sep 17, 2014

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Roche Chief Executive Severin Schwan likes to crack open the champagne with his drug research teams at the end of a big project - especially when they fail. As the boss of one of the world's most successful pharmaceutical companies, whose leading position in cancer treatments has propelled its market value to more than $250 billion, it might seem a strange response. But a celebration to mark the lessons learned from a failed experiment are an important component of Schwan's drive to encourage risk-taking in an intrinsically risky business, where nine out of 10 potential new drugs turn out to be flops.

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