Smart Change in Restructuring

Global smart change support within a restructuring process

Change management support to ensure transparency, speed and implementation success in the global restructuring of the innovation department

The initial situation

The traditional pharmaceutical industry is facing enormous changes.

Like others, the client is under enormous cost pressure, facing high structural costs and thus only a limited ability to flexibly invest in promising opportunities. At the same time, high-tech development processes increasingly require flexible cooperation with external partners from science and industry.

Therefore our client introduced a new operating model to ensure investment flexibility, external innovation, strengthened capabilities and alternative financing models.

The challenge

Parallel to the new structure, the new operating model also implied a significant headcount reduction throughout the innovation area. The combination of restructuring, downsizing and increased internationalization meant extensive challenges for the entire organization. Therefore, it was our task to ensure that the downsizing is as fair and transparent as possible, as well as to lay the foundation for thriving in the new world.

Facts and figures about the customer

The client is a leading international pharmaceutical company

Annual revenue of nearly 2 billion €

The change management was implemented very effectively and was highly appreciated by the organization. Given the background of such a difficult restructuring with hard individual fates, this is anything but a matter of course.

Head of Change

The approach

To provide an effective change process for restructuring, our approach for was based on 3 core phases. From ‘Preparing the journey’ in phase 1 over ‘Shaping the future’ in phase 2 to ‘Thriving in the new world’ in phase 3.

  • Focus:
    • Setup of transformation team
    • Communication of reason why
    • Ensuring that top team is aligned and equipped
  • Focus:
    • Genuine involvement of a cross-section of the organization
    • Open & transparent communication as well as securing the transfer of critical know-how
    • Leadership enabling and establishment of peer group learning
  • Focus:
    • Getting off to a good start and stabilizing the retained organization
    • Support capability building for the new set-up
    • Nurturing a spirit & culture of the new innovation area

During all 3 phases, the change levers Change Leadership, Enabling, Dialog & Involvement, Communication as well as Evaluation were utilized for a transparent, fair and effective restructuring.

Read more here.

Facts and figures about the project

Reorganization of its innovation division

Implementation of the restructuring process as fair and transparent as possible

Downsizing in the workforce structure

Broad involvement through focused and human-centered change management

The opportunity to actively participate in the restructuring process as part of the transformation team is a great benefit for me and my peers during the restructuring process.

– Member of the transformation team


While the restructuring was a tough time for the entire organization and the employees affected by it, the underlying change process was perceived as very fair and transparent.

The opportunity to provide immediate value to employees during a tough time was very encouraging, not only professionally but also personally.

– Member of the project team

Success factors

Alignment and enabling of the new leadership team to shape the transformation and future cooperation with offsites, pit stop & enabling sessions

Involvement of all hierarchical levels (incl. leavers and non-leavers) in a cross-functional transformation team

Extensive dialogue and feedback formats (formal and informal) to support the change in a period of deep concerns and uncertainty (including over more than 15 coffee corner talks, monthly project updates, monthly management meetings, various townhalls)

Enabling and support of more than 50 leaders to guide their team in times of increased uncertainty as change leaders

…and you?

And you? Do you have questions about the project or are you looking for Smart Change support in restructuring processes?

Please contact us!


Andreas Gömmel


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