Q&A: Stefan Oschmann

© Eric James Walsh

Q&A: Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany


What is your personal story about “Wunderbar together – Germany and the U.S.”?

I have lived and worked across the globe, but few other countries have shaped my idea of success and collaboration as much as the United States has. What always impresses me, for example, is how mistakes and mishaps in business are rarely judged as failures. Instead, they are embraced as an opportunity to learn. And while I’ve heard U.S. colleagues admire the “German” love of detailed planning, I greatly value the “American” can-do spirit of getting things going and making adjustments dynamically along the way. Bring these diverse strengths together, and the outcome can be truly “wunderbar”! I’m glad I can still benefit from working with U.S. colleagues and partners today. And I hope that as many next-generation leaders as possible will be able to do so as well.

Why is the United States an important market for Merck?

With our long history in the United States dating back to the 19th century and a growing team of more than 10,000 curious minds working on tomorrow’s technologies at sites from coast to coast, we are proud of our strong U.S. footprint. It reflects how important the United States is for our company, not only as a key market for our Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials businesses. The U.S. is also home to many of our most valued partners in business and academia and a prime location for science and technology. I’m sure our amazing team of more than 1,300 R&D professionals nationwide agree: We are thrilled to be part of the vibrant U.S. innovation ecosystem today. And our investments here prove that we see an even more promising future.

What do you hope for the future of the transatlantic relationship?

The innovative strength of the United States is remarkable. The successes our company owes to a truly transatlantic team are countless. And I have strong personal ties to the U.S. All this makes me a passionate believer in the transatlantic cause. And I think the time for us believers to take a stand is now. The more we see a tendency in society to focus on what divides instead of what unites us across the globe, the more we need to speak up – and step up – for dialogue and collaboration. To that end, my hope for the transatlantic future is the same as it would be for any partnership I’ve come to cherish: Let us remember our roots, respect our differences, and most importantly, build on our common ground. “Wunderbar Together” speaks volumes about how solid our foundations for mutual understanding and trust are.

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