When Mylan Inc.’s top executives approached Executive Chairman Robert Coury about naming the global generic pharmaceutical company’s new corporate headquarters after him, Coury initially declined.
“It’s not my style,” Coury said Thursday during a dedication ceremony for about 200 company and public officials invited to tour Mylan’s Robert J. Coury Global Center.
But as he spoke about the company’s climb from a small regional generic drug company to a global player that now has 20,000 employees and a corporate goal of providing 7 billion people with access to high quality medicine, it was clear he earned the honor, something that was succinctly summed up by Chief Executive Officer Heather Bresch.
“As Mylan’s CEO, Robert played an instrumental role in conceiving and executing a bold growth strategy that transformed Mylan from a U.S.-based generic pharmaceutical company into a diversified, high-quality leader in global health care,” she said.
Like a lot of corporate success stories, Mylan’s trek from its West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania roots to the world wasn’t always an easy one, particularly when its moves as a publicly held company were placed under the scrutiny of the investment community.
“Wall Street and us – I’m sorry, I just don’t share the same views as them,” Coury said.
Just a few years after being excoriated by the Street for attempting to take over a pharmaceutical company more than twice its size, Coury and his staff, with the blessing of the Mylan board, decided to defy Wall Street opinion again, with far different results.
In 2007, he led the company in its transformation into a global powerhouse. At the time, Mylan was the third-largest generics manufacturing in the U.S. By purchasing India-based Matrix Laboratories, a major producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, and also acquiring the generics business of Europe-based Merck KGaA, which gave it access to 140 countries, Mylan advanced into the top three companies in the industry on a worldwide basis.
Coury also stressed that while the moves gave Mylan its mettle as a worldwide competitor, it also helped it advance what he sees as its core mission – serving unmet needs for high-quality medicine around the world.
“We try to tell Wall Street that we try to do good, to do what’s right,” he said.
Bresch said the new, 280,000-square-foot global center, which received some 500 employees earlier this week, was conceived to support the company’s “unique culture and ambitious objectives for growth.”
Writing on the walls
During a brief tour given by Mylan employees, visitors were shown a host of features and amenities that include an open workspace design that is aimed at driving innovation and collaboration.
Some open-space lounge areas include eraser board walls that encourage employees to scribble down ideas and concepts as they meet casually.
The five-story building also features various “getaway spaces,” quiet rooms, a library, high-tech project rooms for more formal meetings, a cafe and a scalable conference center.
According to Coury, the company will need to continually encourage its employees to think creatively as it pursues its global mission.
“There is so much more to where we need to go,” he said. “China, we’re on our way. Brazil, we’re on our way.”