Picking The Right Biotech CEO


CEO selection is always a critical process because a poor choice will destroy value while a good one will create value. As for life science companies, especially startup biotech, picking of a CEO can even be harder. Things are not better if the choice has to be made from a list of first-time CEO candidates. However, there are key CEO profiles that can help guide the process so that investors settle on the best man or business to lead the company to the next level.

A lot of science needs to go into the recruitment of an ideal CEO for a startup biotech. CEO profiles can be categorized as thermodynamics and reaction kinetics.


Under this category CEO profiles fall into two main groups namely Endothermic and Exothermic. The concepts describe how a CEO engages with the people around them.

Simply put, Endothermic CEOs are those who consume the energy provided by their teams. More often than not, they are low-key thinkers, usually researchers-turned CEOs. Endothermic managers like to go it alone, but sometimes assemble teams to provide the fuel required to achieve the vision.

On the other hand, Exothermic CEOs add energy to the leadership team. They are great at inspiring, motivating their teams. These CEOs are typically charismatic.

Both these CEO profile, Endothermic and Exothermic, can work. However, what is important is putting them in the appropriate organizational context. Sometimes the profiles can be paired in that an organization has an Exothermic CBO and Endothermic scientist-CEO.


Same as Thermodynamics, Kinetic CEO profile can also be put into two main groups namely stoichiometric and catalytic.

Stoichiometric managers are great executioners. They are wonderful business stewards who get the job done and are meticulous on details. Simply put, stoichiometric CEOs fully convert inputs into output as expected of them. However, stoichiometric CEOs are great as additives, but not perfect as synergistic.

On the other hand, catalytic CEOs have enzymatic-like reaction in an organization. Because catalytic CEOs are more strategically inclined, their execution isn’t great. That means that they can lose just at the finish line.

For businesses that are single product plays and asset-centric, the combination of stoichiometric-exotherm CEO attributes is frequent. However, the right leadership for a biotech not only concludes by picking the right CEO, but also giving them a team that fits.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here