AmerisourceBergen CEO Says Getting Employees to Think Big is Key to Success

August 22, 2018, 8:33 PM UTC

When Steven Collis was tapped as CEO of AmerisourceBergen (ABC) in 2011 he was struck that employees felt their company was not a powerful player in the competitive drug industry. He was determined to change that.

“We wanted people to feel proud about where they worked,” he tells Fortune. “We invested in training. We invested in organizational development. We invested in a very fair compensation system.” Those steps he says, built what he calls “intellectual confidence”, adding that’s “the thing I’m most proud of.”

In those early years as Amerisource’s new leader, Collis also made some bold moves that he believes cultivated innovation and entrepreneurism at the company. He extended the company’s global reach and he made several acquisitions, including a strategic partnership with Walgreens/Alliance Boots, the retail pharmacy chain.

During Collis’ tenure as chief executive he has doubled revenues to $153 billion and Amerisource is now ranked the 12th largest company on the Fortune 500. Amerisource has also grown to be one of the largest wholesale drug distributors in the world.

The leadership lesson Collis says that was most critical in that growth and transformation: “Respect. Listening to people. Getting ideas from people. Diversity of people.”

Watch the video above for more from our interview with Collis.

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