Read the Conversation
EF: What was your mission when appointed, almost a year ago, and how has that been translated into your work?
ML: Cardinal Health is a leading player in the healthcare map, that has embarked on a mission to develop its international presence. Going international implies the need to learn how to understand different cultures, businesses, and market dynamics. Taking over Brazil’s subsidiary has been a challenging assignment and my main task was to consolidate the startup phase, accelerate sales, and refine the strategy for the next five years. Given that currently, our market share in Latin America is lower than in Europe and US, we have a tremendous opportunity to grow and expand the business in Brazil. Compared to the same period last year, we've just finished with a 50% growth, which means the strategy that my team and I have put together is paying off. This is a good sign that we are on the right track.
EF: What are your ambitions in Brazil as the largest market in Latin America and what is your road map for the coming years?
ML: The plan for the upcoming three years is to take an aggressive approach that allows us to multiply our revenue and profitability. That future road map is defined by four pillars; people and culture; technology operations; quality, and commercial strategy. Moreover, our ambition is not only financial, but we also primarily seek to be recognized both by our customers as one of the most trustful providers, and by our employees as a company that embraces diversity.
EF: What is the current footprint and portfolio that Cardinal Health has in Brazil?
ML: Our footprint distinguishes the commercialization of two different types of products in Brazil, commodities, and specialities. In the past year, we decided to concentrate our efforts on accelerating our speciality portfolio in mechanical compression to prevent thrombosis; a nutrition portfolio; and a well recognized high-quality portfolio that has products able to be used both in hospitals and at home. On the Operating Room front, we have high-end Surgical Gloves both latex and neoprene and we are market leaders for ECG electrodes in Brazil. This means our portfolio is massive not only for the variety of products but mostly for the large number of patients that use them. Therefore, our strategy is to provide quality in volume.
EF: What are your expectations of Cardinal Health’s recent acquisitions?
ML: Our two acquisitions are well consolidated, but we divested Cordis. We are in the process of merging different corporate cultures and integrating them into one environment. What is even more important, is combining portfolios, which means having to make strategic decisions. Luckily, this second challenge has not been a huge problem for us in Brazil and the patient recovery area is fully integrated at the moment, which is our number one priority.
EF: What is your strategy to attract the ‘best and the brightest talent to the company?
ML: It is imperative to have a value proposition given that people are looking for a workplace whose corporate values match their own. Our biggest proposition to our candidates is Cardinal Health’s mission and statement, which is essential to care. As we work closely with hospitals, doctors, and several stakeholders in the industry, those who work with us need to be passionate about being part of our journey. We sell critical products used in ICU, nutrition, and equipment, all areas whose demands increased sharply during the pandemic. This means the wide variety of our portfolio is compelling on its own for a candidate that is interested in working with us.
EF: How do you think the pandemic will change the way the companies operate or connect?
ML: In my previous role I worked in logistics, this was a very enriching experience as overseeing the supply chain for healthcare in the middle of the Pandemic was rather critical. All pharma companies were pushing hard to deliver their products, and there was a huge impact in terms of costs. It’s been difficult but also a great learning opportunity that quality service is everything. Specifically, in Cardinal Health, we have learned not to react impulsively, to take a breath, and understand the situation before making decisions recognizing the dynamic scenarios in which we operate. At the same time, we have had to acknowledge that you cannot lose the long-term perspective in whatever crisis you are facing even if solutions need to be planned quickly in the short term, perspective is crucial moreover in the healthcare sector. And precisely because this kind of situation requires big changes, it is imperative to engage with your team, share strategy, communicate and not surprise them with hugely impactful decisions. It has been very enriching learning for the company to understand the consequences of the pandemic and learn how to manage it in different local markets with diverse characteristics.
EF: How has it been to manage these unprecedented times?
ML: As every company operating in Healthcare, we have faced cost increases in raw materials and gasoline. In that sense, our role as managers is to navigate and manage these macro scenarios. Because payers and providers are aiming for cost reduction, when confronted with these situations there is a necessity to find win-win solutions that provide mutual gains to all involved stakeholders.