Updated on 10 May 2012
Dr Brian A McNamee, CEO & MD, CSL
A doctor by training, Dr Brian A McNamee was enjoying himself in various job roles starting out as product manager, a job that he took on while on a vacation with his wife in Europe. Time rolled by. He put in 11 years gaining expertise in various aspects of running a company. It was in his mid-30s, that he got the opportunity to head a sick government enterprise-Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL). Dr Brian A McNamee took that as a challenge and changed the face of CSL. Today, CSL is a global specialty biopharmaceutical company.
Recalling the state of affairs at CSL in 1990, Dr McNamee says, "When I joined CSL there had been a very negative assessment of the company done by Anderson Consulting. It documented the company as one with a negative cash flow, low profitability and a limited future. But, then I believed that the industry and the company had tremendous potential."
Recognizing his work, BioSpectrum honored him with the BioSpectrum Asia Pacific Bioscience Industry Person of the Year Award for 2010.
With a strong belief in the opportunities and market potential, Dr McNamee took the challenge of leading this sick government enterprise, CSL, into profitability. As a first step towards achieving his goal, he made the company accountable to the shareholders by going public. The company became incorporated in 1991 and got listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on June 8, 1994.
Dr McNamee adopted and adapted many strategies, both organic and inorganic growth models, included partnership approaches and strategic alliances to grow the business and operations of CSL. Recalling one of the major challenging tasks of his career spanning three decades, Dr McNamee says, "With CSL, I'd say acquiring the Swiss ZLB was a feat. We had to compete with Novartis for it. It was a very significant step in CSL's history and making the final pitch was an exhilarating moment for us."