With over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare, and cosmetic business, Serge Bouteleau has demonstrated a talent for leading organizations and people into new markets and uncharted territory.
Serge serves as the Executive Director of SIDUS Dermocosmetica for Argentina and Uruguay after the company acquired all of Pierre Fabre’s group in those countries. His experience in INSEAD Business School in Leadership transition has contributed to his success, even during the ongoing worldwide health and economic crisis. With his extensive background and multicultural experience, Serge is highly adaptable, open-minded, and proficient in French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
We caught up with Serge and talked about his professional journey.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at SIDUS S.A. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
Serge has dual expertise in science and marketing, graduating in Pharmacy and achieving a master’s in Biological and Medical Sciences at the University of Montpellier and completing a master’s in marketing from IMIS Lyon.
He began his career in France in 1997 after holding his pharmacy thesis and publishing a clinical study in diabetes regarding Medtronic®’s insulin-implanted pump devices.; he has broad experience throughout the Americas and in European countries.
Serge has been working in the pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare and cosmetic business for almost 25 years and has stepped up to the challenges he has faced.
Prior to joining SIDUS, Serge worked for multinational companies such as Sanofi and Pierre Fabre Group. He held several leadership positions in the Americas and Europe, including Vice President and CEO/President in the USA, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. He acquired solid knowledge and experience in managing and participating in restructuring projects and made a strong contribution to global corporate strategies in major emerging, complex and mature healthcare markets. His experience in M&A processes (Brazil and Argentina), licensing (Latin America and Europe) and investment projects have brought expansion and growth to all of the companies he worked for.
Tell us more about your company and its mission and vision; how does it strive towards breaking cultural barriers in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing?
SIDUS is among the most important pharmaceutical companies in Argentina. With over $80 Million in annual revenue, three manufacturing sites, and more than 600 employees, SIDUS offers solutions in the healthcare market to treat a wide range of medical conditions in addition to its solutions in the oral care and skin care markets.
With over 80 years of operation as a mainstay of the Argentinian market, SIDUS has extensive experience representing and distributing products from many international companies, including J&J, Lifescan, and Pierre Fabre Group. SIDUS is firmly committed to using technology and infrastructure to achieve quality excellence.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the healthcare sector through your expertise in the market.
In 2023, I am focusing mainly on the dermo-cosmetic market in Argentina and Uruguay, and with my team, we are working on many innovative and breakthrough projects:
- The primary launch of a new ultra broad-spectrum sun filter: TRIASORB™, proven safe for human use and eco-friendly for marine biodiversity. A patented sun filter available in a new sun care product marketed under its Eau Thermale Avène brand: Intense Protect 50+. TRIASORB™ is the first organic filter with a unique ability to absorb and reflect the harmful portion of the solar spectrum, including UVB, short UVA and long UVA rays, and high-energy visible blue light. TRIASORB™ has also been thoroughly tested under experimental conditions to demonstrate that this filter is not toxic for three key species of marine biodiversity: a coral species, a phytoplankton species, and a zooplankton species (scientific publications are currently being prepared). This is entirely in line with our CSR commitment.
- Go to market with a specific skincare line inside the brand Klorane based on more than 80% of natural ingredients. This range also includes revolutionary products for anti-fatigue eyes and anti-puffiness—a global anti-puffiness, anti-dark circles, and illuminating treatment suitable for all skin tones. Instantly and durably reduces signs of daily fatigue. Day after day, your eyes regain their radiance and signs of fatigue fade. Specially designed for the most sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
- Evaluation of the launch of an outstanding range of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. This product is one of the best fillers compared to other injectables. It is made of hyaluronic acid—a substance naturally found in the human body—when injected into the face, especially the lips, produces a soft and natural result.
- Over the past few years, considerable attention has focused on cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychotropic constituent of cannabis; we are also analyzing this opportunity in many market segments.
“To be successful, a CEO must first be visionary to steer the business in the right direction. They must also be ambitious and optimistic to pursue the set goals. Other qualities include the ability to rally others towards their visions, loyalty to the company and the employee base, confidence in themselves and the company, critical thinking and communication skills, and passion.”
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
As men, companies have dreams and have their history. SIDUS started over 80 years ago, in 1938, when Antonio and Miguel Argüelles founded the company. Thanks to its innovative nature and thriving spirit, SIDUS could position itself in the Argentine pharmaceutical market.
With effort and intelligence, the company soon became an active protagonist in the sector. During these decades of development, SIDUS understood that progress consisted in having the ability to build bridges between scientific discoveries, producers, the environment, and its culture. In that sense, science has always been a product of our culture. That is why we developed our identity within that integrating scheme. Valuable and innovative medicines consolidated from the beginning thanks to their therapeutic prestige in Argentine physicians’ memory and our industry within the sector. That consensus and a clear communication policy allowed the company to develop rapidly. In a global world, we understood that the key to success was innovation, which was our objective in every project we launched. Our shared vision of reality and our firm belief in technical and scientific values have shaped our actions.
We feel proud that we have always protected the relationship between science and entrepreneurship, which is, to our mind, the key to success, together with product innovation and risk-taking. We feel happy to satisfy Argentina’s demands which call for active participation in the realization of productive scientific research in our country. For more than eight decades, we have worked in the fascinating field of human health with physicians, biologists, researchers, and pharmacists to raise the population’s standards and quality of life. This is a fascinating adventure in which genuine and innovative research and development in our country are the protagonists. As pioneers in implementing linking strategies, we firmly believe this is the model of the industry we need in our country. We will continue working along these lines in the future.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I’m a driven person who works hard to attain my goals. The ability to overcome obstacles and follow things through to completion has always been a strong point of mine, which is why I’ve managed to thrive in such competitive and complex environments, subjects, and markets.
I’m stimulated by challenges and found my company is one of my following targets. However, I am aware that as a perfectionist, my delegation skills improved, and nothing could be possible without outstanding teamwork. Sky is the limit.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry?
“HE CARED.” That seems so simple, but it says so much.
Caring is where it all starts and ends. If we don’t care, we don’t love, work hard, dedicate ourselves, and do the right thing. Each is required to get to the next level. You cannot honestly care for your wife and kids if you do not take care of and care for yourself. You cannot truly care for your clients if you don’t take care of and care for your work family. Unhappy team members will lead to dissatisfied clients and then no clients.
Caring is making sure you are the most prepared person for everything. “We Care” is the first and most important core value. While this is where I am today, my thoughts on my legacy may evolve. For now, my hope for my legacy will continue to shape who I am and how I live my life. It’s your legacy that makes you immortal. You are to leave positive and beautiful things behind.