General Counsel within a Pharmaceutical Company

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A pharmaceutical company operating globally trading in two dozen countries and based in the UK, our client provides low volume pharmaceutical products that are often at risk. Following an MBO and significant investment they started to hire a new Senior Leadership Team. One of the key hires was a General Counsel, who would play a pivotal role in the new growth strategy. 



The overall objective of this recruit is to streamline the acquisition process of new products, playing a key role in executing the new growth strategy. The person needed to have specific knowledge of pharma product asset purchases.

The volume of deals planned was significant and therefore it required someone that could work quickly, diligently, and that had a real passion for this area of law. They also needed to have successfully completed several deals and been the lead counsel. As the role interfaced very closely with the new SLT it was essential that they also fitted the culture. 



The briefing process was very strong. The company invested a lot of time in briefing us, providing access to the key stakeholders. This gave us a very clear view of the type of personality that would fit in addition to the experience and attributes required.

In order to identify the very best candidate available, we mapped out the key target companies that operated in a similar or adjacent space. From there we looked to pinpoint profiles that were active in ‘deal making’. The biggest challenge was to find those candidates that had the specific asset purchase experience and the volume of deals already executed.

Here is summary of the process;

Companies researched


Candidates identified within these businesses


Number of Candidates engaged with


Targeted candidates interested


Candidates interviewed by Collingwood

12 with 6 recommended

Candidates interviewed by Client

5 with 2 progressed to finals

Candidate offered

1 offered and accepted


The role, company and mission were very compelling. With the use of our tailored messaging and ‘information deck’ as part of our overall marketing strategy to target candidates, we were able to generate a high level of interest. After conducting multiple discovery calls, we reduced the candidate funnel to 12 possible candidates.

Having interviewed the 12 candidates a total of 6 were presented to the client. 5 were interviewed by the HR Director and 2 progressed to conversations with the new CEO and CFO. After careful deliberation one was identified, and an offer presented that was accepted.

About the author
Doug Mackay
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Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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Doug Mcckay

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