10 FEATURED CFO PATRICK COYLE FOR EISAI CFO PATRICK COYLE, WHO IS TRANSFORMING AN EMBATTLED FINANCE ORGANIZATION, THE JOURNEY HAS BEEN AS IMPORTANT AS THE DESTINATION By Michelle Gillan Larkin J ust before the start of Summer 2019, when Patrick Coyle joined the New Jersey–based U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese pharmaceutical company, he was optimistic about his new position, as any new hire would be, but he also knew this: “I had stepped onto a platform that required a radical transformation, strong leader- ship, and change in strategy.” He came on board a year after the former CFO had left the organization. There were a number of vacancies, including key leadership roles. “There had been a period of de-investment in infrastructure and dormancy in the business,” explains Coyle, who boasts an impressive track record in the pharma industry, having spent time at Novartis, eight years at Bayer, and most recently Insmed, where he was VP of Financial Planning and Analysis. When he joined, he quickly noticed that his new staff “did not have a sustainable Finance culture with a development mindset,” he recalls. “Innova- tion and creativity was stifled; the team had heard ‘no’ too many times. There was no dynamic leader in Finance to set the vision. It was people working very hard without any time to focus on the future of the business.” And, the hard message he got from them all pertained to the lack of hope around improving the situation in the department. Coyle knew he had to fix the situation, and fix it quickly. He asked himself, “How do I transform the organization and instill a culture of collabora- tion and innovation?” The answer he came up with was (in theory) simple: stabilize and rebuild. And within his first month on the job, he developed a strategic roadmap to do that. THE ROAD TO TRANSFORMATION Coyle’s roadmap for transforming Finance took “stabilize” and “rebuild” and divided those phases into a people, process, technology framework. “This is not a new concept, but our people are the building blocks of our foundation for everything we do,” he says. “Without the right people, it’s hard to come up with the right process. And, without the right process, it’s hard to implement new technology.” A proponent of the Kaizen Approach, a change- management philosophy that strives to create a “continuous improvement cycle,” Coyle focused on “improving the mindset, analyzing what we’re do- ing, innovating and encouraging original ideas, and developing an execution plan.” Communicating and implementing the plan naturally follows, and leads to the endgame of evaluating and standard- izing the method. “You need people to do that,” he points out. “And people work more effectively when they understand the endgame and think there’s a path to development and a future. And then they have hope.” Total Turnaround YOU CAN ACTUALLY CHANGE THE MINDSET TO JUST CONFIDENTLY REFRAME SOMETHING FROM ‘THIS IS WHAT I’VE ALWAYS DONE’ TO ‘HOW CAN I KEEP EVOLVING IT?’