FOCUS 3 TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2020 KATHIMERINI O is something I also get from the way you talk about Greece. will be cheap enough to be administered to people who cannot afford it and, consequently, if other countries beyond the US will have easy access to it. Kathimerini Does this mean we will get this vaccine in Greece quite soon after it becomes available? I assume you holiday in Halkidiki? What kind of spending are we talking about? What is it like being the CEO of a major pharmaceutical company in the coronavirus pandemic? What are the biggest challenges? What is your opinion of the way Greece and the Greek government responded to the coronavirus pandemic? Some people are worried that the usual safety protocols will be sidestepped because of the rush to come up with a vaccine. When do you think we might have a timeline for a vaccine? I’d like to ask about your personal journey. I understand that you were born in Thessaloniki. Another concern is whether this vaccine In our first email exchange, you said you are a “real Greek,” which Thessaloniki earned the Pfizer investment ‘on its own merit’ I know that Pfizer is planning a small hub in Thessaloniki, coincidentally, I guess. What are your plans for this hub? First of all, let me comment on the “coincidentally.” Many say that this hub in Thessaloniki would not exist were it not for me and, in a way, they are right, meaning that I knew of Thessaloniki’s potential and I have the power to make things happen. I want to emphasize that I didn’t make a gift to Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki won the investment on its own merit. But I knew what others didn’t: that the hub will be hugely successful, because I know the quality of the scientists produced by the city’s university [the Aristotle University], especially in this particular sector, and I know the urge and fervor with which Greeks, especially the young, work and want to learn. Such a hub, a hub of digital research that will serve Pfizer’s needs in the US, Europe and China, is something that will provide great knowledge to those working there and will make great waves throughout the economy. That’s why we did it. As for the center itself: we have made the first hirings and were hoping to have hired a significant number of people by the fall, but because of the coronavirus, we are a month to a month-and-a-half behind. We had envisaged an investment to employ 200, mainly university trained scientists, and I am optimistic that we will eventually employ many more in Thessaloniki. just starting to think about career options, maybe from the same Thessaloniki public school you attended? ‘We had envisaged an investment to employ 200, mainly university trained scientists, and I am optimistic that we will eventually employ many more’ I am not a priest to dispense advice but I can say that many things helped me along the way. I advise my children that, first, I have never seen any successful person not liking what they do. I have met many people who like what they do and are not necessarily successful but never the opposite. So, if you want to succeed, always choose a job you like and try to like it. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO or an entry-level marketing manager like I was in Pfizer. I adored my job. When I joined Pfizer, I didn’t want to go at first because I adored my previous job at the university. Once I joined Pfizer, I no longer wanted to go back to academia. Second, keep an open mind and never try to plan your career. Do the best job you can do and things will come your way. In my 25 years at Pfizer, I went through 14 or 15 different positions before becoming CEO. I never pushed for a certain position, in the sense of using it as a springboard for another and then another. I always did a good job where I was and someone saw me and proposed another position. Thirdly, always set the bar high, always have a vision to attain your best and, once you do, keep pushing higher and higher, and that’s the way you will achieve maximum results in your life. But that was me. and I don’t want to send a message to Greek youth that they should just stay there, be inward-looking and not look [for opportunities] abroad. But the way it happened, losing so many people in two years, is a big problem. Greece can and should create good jobs, modern jobs, new technology jobs, and this is, I think, the way to bring people back. I know very well that, when we advertised for jobs in the Thessaloniki hub, a great number of applicants were Greek expatriates who wanted to return. And this confirms my case [about job creation]. Pfizer did it and, immediately afterwards, Cisco announced that it will create a hub in Thessaloniki. I think Deloitte has a big hub in Thessaloniki. Recently, Microsoft announced a similar thing, not in Thessaloniki, elsewhere in Greece. This will create a number of jobs that will help keep the young from leaving. Do you see this as a way of reversing brain drain? Because, as you know, we have lost a lot of talent in Greece, especially during the financial crisis. Of course, I have no doubt about it. I believe the brain drain, the way it happened, harmed the country, because it was mainly about young people at their most productive and was mainly about scientists whose skills were needed abroad and who could easily find a job. That is, it consisted mostly of the people whom you hope to be the ones that will help restart your economy. This is bad. Now, as someone who has never regretted leaving Greece, I understand What would you advise a young person
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