People on the Move: Riccardo Salvagnini, Chief Strategy Officer & Board Equity Partner, PQE Group
January 30, 2024
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Riccardo Salvagnini joined PQE Group three years ago and has been rising steadily ever since. As Chief Strategy Officer in charge of global business development and sales initiatives, he is a busy man who spends much of his time traveling around the world. We caught up with Riccardo when he was at an airport awaiting a flight from Puerto Rico to Montreal during a recent trip to North America. He didn’t have much time before his boarding time, but we did learn quite a bit about him, PQE Group, and his role and goals for the company.
You joined PQE Group three years ago as a Vice President, and today you are Chief Strategy Officer & a member of the PQE Group’s Board of Directors. Can you share a little about your background and how you came to join PQE Group?
I have worked in the life sciences field for the past 28 years, spending half of that time in industry & half in consultancy. As a result, I have developed a deep knowledge of the life sciences environment and I understand its complexities – and can interpret issues – from both sides of the aisle. My entire career has been involved in strategic planning and international business development for every company I’ve worked for. Before joining PQE Group, I was employed by one of its competitors, but I was interested in PQE Group because everything I knew about it was positive; PQE Group has always had a great reputation. Three years ago, I contacted PQE Group and was delighted when I had the
opportunity to join the company. The rest, as they say, is history.
You’ve risen quickly with PQE Group! What are your goals for your role and for the organization?
I am PQE Group’s Chief Strategy Officer and I also sit on the Board of Directors. My primary role is managing business development and sales activities on a global level; with more than 43 offices and 2,000+ employees around the world, it’s quite a large undertaking. I also support all of our affiliates, assisting with strategic decisions and affiliate growth from a global perspective, and I work closely with Danilo Neri, PQE Group Vice President Executive and Board Equity Partner, on our Federation program, in which we partner with organizations to build alliances that support each other and our respective clients.
By integrating all of these initiatives, my overarching objective is to help drive PQE Group to
become the number one consultancy in our field in the next two-to-three years. PQE Group is fully specialized in life sciences, so in aiming to meet this lofty goal, we must compare ourselves with those companies that have similar characteristics. For example, some of our large global competitors have numerous divisions in different industries, so we evaluate PQE Group against those competitors’ life science divisions. With that in mind, we anticipate that PQE Group will become the largest life science consultancy in 2026.
What excites you most about PQE Group? Why do you feel it is different from other pharma consultancies?
I greatly appreciate PQE Group’s approach to the market. We have strong, highly competent centers around the globe and we really do make a difference. We work with large, multinational companies on global levels, but we also have many small, private organizations as well as businesses of all sizes in between the two. We are extremely flexible and we really do understand the needs and different approaches required by the clients that we collaborate with. Our clients vary in size, focus, location, and needs.
PQE Group’s international culture goes along with its approach to the market and is also something I really love. Interacting with all of our people, who are located everywhere around the world, energizes me – the different nationalities, cultures, interests, beliefs, and traditions all enrich me. And there are so many exciting challenges – every time we target a new market, I have to start with determining if PQE Group should establish another corporation or begin to do business there, how big a team would be needed, identify the best location for an office, etc. There is a lot to learn with every new opportunity and while it can be difficult, this is something I also really enjoy.
I find it quite motivating that, in addition to the numerous services that PQE Group offers, digital transformation has become one of the most sought-after of our services. We are truly among the pioneers in bringing this concept to the pharma field. We have found that owners of pharmaceutical facilities can be reluctant to change for many reasons, including stringent regulatory points of view as well as the significant time and money it can take to make required changes, and we are here to help our clients with making the digital transformation, on a global level, efficiently, and cost-effectively.
I’m proud of PQE Group for many additional reasons. One is that we are attracting a great deal of new talent from around the world because of our characteristics and our services, especially the newer, more current subjects and business units that young people are particularly interested in (such as AI and digitalization). We drive a tremendous amount of innovation, many of which are best understood by young people. PQE Group boasts a wide range of ages among its more than 2000 employees, and most of our senior management team is made up of middle-age individuals, all of whom recognize the importance of providing significant training to our younger staff while also supporting and mentoring them by sharing our ideas, recommendations, and experiences. We are fully aware that real change will come from these younger team members who bring with them highly advanced, technical education, and
we recognize that while young people can learn much from older professionals, older professionals can also learn a great deal from the younger, newer members of our team. We listen to all of our employees’ thoughts and suggestions, and when a young consultant raises their hand with an idea we will listen; while we might not always develop that idea, in the majority of cases, we do make an attempt.
Can you tell us a little about you? Who is Riccardo Salvagnini when you’re not at work?
Clearly, I travel all the time. In 1996, I began to travel 40%-50% percent of my time and I’ve never stopped; with PQE Group, I probably travel more than that amount. I’m used to it; it’s become my way of life. I miss home when I’m traveling, and I miss traveling when I’m home.
When I AM home, I enjoy living in my countryside home, tending to my garden, my animals, and my olive plants (which, by the way, grow delicious olives!). I also play some sports, such as Paddle (which is like pickle ball but different, with a much bigger ball) and soccer, and I enjoy trekking and taking long walks with my beautiful wife Nadia. And of course, wherever I am and whenever possible, I follow my favorite soccer team – Fiorentina.
Life is good – I feel very fortunate!
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