Meet Nathalie Legrenzi, Head Strategic Planning & Portfolio Management in Pharma Informatics at Roche

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Nathalie Legrenzi. I am French, I studied in France, I live in France, but I’ve never worked in France.

I’ve worked for Roche for almost 19 years.After spending a few years in two IT service companies in Basel I joined Roche in 1994.

I spent the first 13 years at the Swiss headquarters in Basel, working first with Pharma Development and then as Information Manager for Strategic Marketing and Life Cycle Teams.

Then, as part of my development plan, I was offered a position in the Australian affiliate in Dee Why close to Sydney as site Head IT Customer Service, with some involvement in regional IT initiatives and projects. It was a great opportunity, so I moved to Australia with my family in January 2008.

Almost one year later, the Informatics Regional Head based in Australia left the company (he was also the Australian Site Head). At that time his regional role moved to China and I was offered the Informatics Site Head position for Pharma Australia, which I accepted with great enthusiasm.

This Australian experience has been amazing for me professionally, but also for my family. My daughters are now perfectly fluent in English, which is a gift for their future.

At the end of my 3 ½ years’ assignment in Australia, I moved back to Roche Basel.

When I am not at Roche, I spend time with my two daughters Marine and Chanel. We also just gained a new family member: a two month-old puppy who now needs to be trained properly.

We love travelling around the world whenever possible to experience new countries, their people, their wildlife, not to mention the local food.

In winter time we love skiing and we usually go skiing in the Swiss Alps every Sunday.

Where did you study?

I studied in France in Mulhouse at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology. I’ve got a Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems (MIAGE), which is very highly regarded.

In which Roche location are you currently working?

I’m currently working in Basel at the Roche headquarters.

What can you tell us about that location?

I live in France, not too far from the border. Working in Basel is a great opportunity for French people and also for Germans. I like to say that I can cross two borders when commuting to work and still be in the office 20 to 25 minutes later.

Why did you decide to join Roche?

After spending a few years in two IT service companies in Basel, I decided to join the pharma industry. I wanted to work much more closely with the business in order to understand their priorities and challenges and be in a better position to help deliver the most effective drugs to patients as quickly as possible.

At that time my husband was doing his PhD in the Roche Vitamin division (this division has been sold in the meantime) and he gave me the Roche newspaper. I looked at all open positions and The “Global Head Application Engineering” position in the IT department for R&D sounded very interesting to me. I applied and I got the job.

What is your current job ?

My current position is Head Strategic Planning & Portfolio Management in Pharma Informatics.

I have a small team of very skilled employees based in Basel and in San Francisco. I also coordinate a network of Portfolio Managers based in each of the 9 Pharma IT functions (called PMO network). Together we plan, track and report the activities performed by all Pharma IT employees. This includes the portfolio management of IT projects, enhancements of existing systems or applications, and also the Operational activities (we also call those “keep the lights on” activities).

A second part of my job with the help of my team is to own the project management framework for delivering IT projects for the Roche Group IT. We coordinate and manage improvement together with a board of experts across the three divisions Pharma IT, Diagnostics IT and Group Functions IT.

What makes it such a great job?

What I like about this job is to have the opportunity to understand all informatics activities based on the overall IT strategy and therefore to see how they align with the priorities and objectives in the Business functions.

I also have the pleasure to work with great professionals based in Basel but also in San Francisco and in the different regions around the world. Since I joined Roche I’ve always worked in IT positions in global roles working alongside international teams. I really enjoy working in global teams and in virtual network settings. We talk a lot about diversity those days. These experiences gave me the opportunity to appreciate how enriching it is to work with people coming from different cultures, with different educations and backgrounds.

Can you pick at least three of the attributes of Roche and explain in detail what they mean to you?

  • Products: Roche products mean hope and life to many patients. With drugs such as the oncology products, it means so much for people suffering from cancer to have a chance to improve their quality of life, to go into remission for several months or years, or even be cured. We probably all know people in our family or surroundings who have been able to benefit from our drugs.
  • Development opportunities: we should look at my own story. A few years back my line manager and I were talking about my development plan and in particular my wish to gain some affiliate experience. I was fully mobile at that time and I was ready to move to another location together with my family. Less than 6 months after that discussion I started a new exciting job 16,000 km away from my home country and my daughters started school in a nice Sydney suburb. This is the reality of working for Roche.
  • Work/life balance: Roche gives you great flexibility to organise your work. You can for instance work from home some days to avoid travel time and therefore do more personal tasks those days (e.g. do your grocery shopping over lunchtime, wait for the handyman who will fix your heating system, get your car repaired).

Please complete the following sentence:

Roche is a great place to work because… we are lucky to work with great people and we all work for the benefit of patients around the world.

How would you describe the people working here?

The people working at Roche are highly skilled and are excellent professionals with a sense of social responsibility, who innovate healthcare through their everyday work for the benefit of patients.

What would you advise job seekers who want to join us?

You should apply for a position at Roche. You will have big opportunities to grow both personally and professionally, and you will meet great people from all over the world.

Explore here how IT at Roche has an impact on patients' lives.

Tags: Information Technology, Switzerland