An interview with the new CEO of Medis - Martina Perharič

Photo: Aleš Bravničar

The long-standing General Manager of Medis, Tone Strnad, was succeeded by Martina Perharič, PhD, previously the Director of the Pharma Division. Tone Strnad, who founded Medis and managed it for 29 years, remains chairman of the Supervisory Board.

Martina Perharič, who has been at Medis for 17 years and was previously the director of the Pharma Division, assumed her new role at the start of 2018. She already has her sights firmly fixed on the future.

"Where do you see Medis in the future?"

"Medis will continue to underscore the difference between good and excellent products, services, employees and teams; thus positively affecting the health of people, who are, despite their illnesses, fortunate to be able to use the absolute best medicines available, courtesy of Medis. We firmly believe that Medis will continue its strong and healthy growth based on our excellent foundations: talent, management, resources, perseverance and determination, hard-working and intelligent teams, knowledge and compassion; and we will enhance this ongoing improvement even further through our rapid acceptance of technological advances and our continuous adjustments to them – for a better, more daring, special, innovative and successful Medis."

"There are new therapies emerging, but they are extremely expensive and this is a major challenge for the health care system. Which therapeutic areas will be interesting in the future?"

"The key problems areas are well known, foremost among them the aging population and the financial challenges facing health funds. I am certain that Medis will excel in this environment, as we are an important partner of the health care systems in the countries where we operate. In the complex pharmaceutical industry, the need for specialization will be even greater, as the requirements of regulatory bodies, purchasers and prescribers increase. We are experts at marketing products designed to improve people’s health, so we are a key partner for companies that develop these products. It is a great honour for us that over the last decade Medis has become a company that our partners are proud of, and they tell us this. We are fortunate that we also operate in small countries. However, we cannot and must not overlook that development in the pharmaceutical market has encouraged other companies to offer similar services. We have competition, but we can confidently say that we are the greatest and the best."

"What are the factors for Medis’s commercial success and constant growth over a period of almost 30 years?"

"The commercial success of Medis and its constant double-digit sales growth are based on its employees and excellent products. To be able to become a well-established company in a sector as demanding as pharmacy, and on several very different markets, we need to continuously build teams of co-workers dedicated to a common goal, who strive to provide better treatment for people through their work. The best result is a cured patient!"

"I see you value employees and see them as key to the success of Medis. How would you describe the people of Medis?"

"Naturally, we need people with specific skills and individual expertise – but only when they are incorporated into excellent teams can we achieve true expert power, which is our company’s most important asset. Personally, I always appreciate the efforts made, the positive attitudes and the drive for improvements. Results come if you ensure that employees can continue to progress and produce their best, enjoy their work and are rewarded accordingly. This is at the core of everything we represent in Medis – this vision is also incorporated into all our endeavours and our ambitious plans for the future."

"Your colleagues know you as a person with many talents and great ambitions. What do you prefer to do at work, what motivates you?"

"I am interested in so many things that I often need to be stopped. I see business opportunities everywhere. Therefore, it is important for me to have structured colleagues so that we can think together and set goals. Then I become the driving force. I understand leadership as guidance and support for the teams, I am here to guarantee work, development, progress, working conditions. I love people, which is why I was always interested in teaching. During my doctoral studies, I enjoyed giving practical lessons in pathophysiology for the students, and later, occasionally lecturing at the master’s level. Accumulating knowledge makes no sense if you do not transfer it. I really love doing this because I also study a lot. Negotiations are also an enjoyable challenge for me. When we go into a demanding meeting with potential business partners with experience and “mileage”, the work becomes really interesting. Often, they initially appear disinterested, however, after a while, they become engaged and progressively more excited. How could they be anything else after watching all these capable Medis employees, inspired, smart, pleasant colleagues? For me, success is being the manager of such a successful team." 

"Your life motto?"

"As a positive person, I believe that everything will turn out all right in the end and if it hasn’t, it is not over yet!”

About Medis:

Medis is headquartered in Slovenia, with regional affiliates in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia, all staffed by locally sourced professionals. Its continued success and expansion is providing ever-improving care to a growing number of patients throughout Central Europe and the Balkans. The 300+ employees, mostly graduates from the natural science or economic faculties, are focused on realizing our mission – to provide patients with access to modern, efficient and safe medical treatment.

In October 2017, Finance magazine included Medis in the TOP 101 largest business groups and companies of 2016 in Slovenia, ranking it 88th with an annual revenue of EUR 73.2 million. Medis was also included in the most successful business groups and companies of 2016, where it was ranked 15th (EBITDA margin 11.6% and 15.3% ROA).