Editor’s note: This story is part of our 2022 PharmaVoice 100 feature.
A company’s culture starts at the top. To drive success into the future, Sebastian Guth, president of Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Americas Region, and member of the global executive committee, understands that organizations need diverse leadership. Following this approach will also, in turn, improve access to underrepresented populations.
“[Guth] believes that culture is the glue that keeps everyone together and is what turns a good organization into a great organization. Improving the lives of patients, creating change through partnerships and empowering Bayer colleagues are key hallmarks of his leadership,” one of his nominators says.
Since taking on his current role three years ago, Guth has increased female representation on his executive team from “15% to 50%,” a nominator says. But his influence around gender parity doesn’t stop at the C-suite. In women’s healthcare, “Bayer recently announced the expansion of its partnership with the nonprofit humanitarian organization Direct Relief’s community awards program, which funds health clinics across the U.S. to provide education and access to reproductive health services to underserved women,” a nominator notes.
These efforts have positioned the company “to be a top leader in women’s healthcare,” all while “bringing significant innovation to oncology and making major investments in cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease,” a nominator says.
Under his leadership, the company has seen a significant acceleration in its North American business with $4.86 billion in pharma sales last year. Guth leads Bayer’s largest pharmaceutical market, which represents 23% of the company’s global pharma sales.
As a 20-year veteran of the Big Pharma, most recently having served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Guth’s reach across the organization and industry is considerable, and he has established himself as a “visionary and inspirational leader who consistently focuses on improving healthcare solutions and equitable access to healthcare,” one of his nominators says. “When he sees an opportunity to advance patient care, he rallies the organization around him to act with speed, resolve and total commitment to the people we serve.”
In response to the pandemic, Guth knew patients, especially those who were uninsured and underinsured, would be hit hardest.
“In 2021, Bayer provided more than $356 million of free pharmaceutical products across various therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, hematology, oncology, renal and women’s healthcare to almost 11,400 uninsured or underinsured patients in the U.S.,” a colleague notes. Further, under his direction, Bayer joined the government’s response to COVID-19 “with a donation of 3 million tablets of Resochin; created Bayer-sponsored COVID-19 webinars with expert panelists for healthcare providers; sponsored colleague wellness webinars to care for colleagues; and launched the ‘Bayer Heroes’ series to highlight employees and, in some cases, first responders who stepped up during the pandemic.”
“I continue to appreciate and lean into my networks, socially and professionally. Nothing can replace human connection, whether it's nurtured in person or virtually.”
President, Americas region, Bayer Pharmaceuticals
As a result of his inspired and compassionate leadership style, Bayer’s “internal employee engagement increased by 18%.” A nominator notes that Guth “started with listening to what was most important to employees across the company and then creating an environment in which all team members could contribute to building an environment they would enjoy and feel proud of.”
Colleagues say Guth embodies Bayer’s vision “Health for all, Hunger for none” by continuously looking for ways to expand access to treatment options and education, no matter the individual’s background or resources.
“On behalf of Bayer, Guth takes part in several population health organizations, including the Population Health Alliance, Pharmacy Quality Alliance and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions,” one of his nominators says.
Paying forward his success is important to Guth.
“I am on the Board of Children's Aid, one of the nation's oldest and largest child welfare organizations committed to providing comprehensive support to children, youth, and their families in New York City neighborhoods,” he says. “As a dad of three boys, helping children be happy and successful is important to me.”
Guth is also spearheading a pilot program with the organization to be launched later this year “that will connect New York City children with mentors from Bayer Pharmaceuticals. The program will educate students on the types of careers that are possible within the pharmaceutical industry and empower them to explore their interests in healthcare,” a nominator says.