Nico Gariboldi, head of the digital technology and innovation centre of Pfizer and leader of the Pfizer digital hub, stated in a recent interview with AMNA (Athenian-Macedonian News Agency) that he believes that Thessaloniki has the potential to become an important technological centre and the Silicon Valley of Greece.
“Thessaloniki could become the Silicon Valley of Greece” and “it is a city full of talents” he said.
“By creating a world-class team and working with some of the brightest minds in this city, we believe we can really make a difference and change patients’ lives.
“This would put Thessaloniki on the map, in terms of innovation and scientific excellence.
“It will also send a clear message to other companies and investors that there are strong reasons to settle here.”
Mr. Gariboldi explained in his interview that Pfizer’s philosophy is based on creating synergies with the academic, research and start-up ecosystem. Therefore, such an investment in the city of Thessaloniki will have a significant multiplier effect, as the city hosts prestigious educational and research institutes, and has for several years been known as a business centre in Greece, with a notable entrepreneurial spirit.
Gariboldi also emphasized that a big priority for the American pharmaceutical company and its innovation hub is to leave a ‘footprint’ on Thessaloniki and get its economy running, while creating new jobs for Greek people.
The immediate goal of the Pfizer hub in the historic northern Greek city is to discover and hire 200 talented individuals in order to create a “dream team” of scientists and experts.
“So far we have presented our immediate plans for the first step in the development of the hub in Thessaloniki. And this is an important step. We have already started the hiring process and have received so many impressive CVs.
“There is a dynamic entity in the city, and I am sure that this new Greek hub will have really good results.”
At the same time, Gariboldi talked about the importance of bringing together the Greek diaspora, those who left Greece in a search for different work opportunities.
“People from the USA, the Netherlands and Germany, who lived abroad for years, were really happy to return to their homeland, Thessaloniki, and work for our hub.
“The brain drain becomes a brain gain, as long as there are right conditions, and I personally believe that these are exactly what the hub offers,” he added.
Although the hiring process for Pfizer’s Greek team of scientists has already started, and ‘exceptional’ talented has been discovered, the company is still looking for the right place in Thessaloniki to set up its permanent facilities in the city.
“We want to build our dream team and find the right place, so that we can bring a new future to Pfizer and the entire healthcare sector today.”
Although Pfizer’s revenue was reportedly down by 10% in the first half of 2019 (from 26.38 billion USD to 23.83 billion USD), Bloomberg reported earlier this month that “on the heels of Pfizer’s $1.95 billion COVID-19 vaccine deal with the U.S. Government, Pfizer could have a $15+ billion revenue from sales within 2020 and 2021.”
With offices in over 50 countries around the world, including Greece and Australia, Pfizer is now looking to expand its business in locations where there is significant potential for growth, such as Thessaloniki.
Talking about the profile of the people that Pfizer is looking for to staff the hub of Thessaloniki, Mr. Gariboldi said that the company wants talented experts, whose ambitions align to those of the pharmaceutical company.
“There are many skilled people in the city of Thessaloniki. It is no coincidence that Thessaloniki has nine world-renowned research centres and some of the largest universities in South-eastern Europe, with which we wish to cooperate” he stated.
“As Pfizer, we seek to find not only the best scientists in the city, but at the same time, all those people who will help us achieve our goals and have tangible results to improve our patients’ lives. In order for the hub mission to succeed, we need people who will function just as well as units, but also as a whole team, with perseverance, patience and dedication” Mr. Gariboldi added.
When asked what the imprint of the operation of the Pfizer hub will be on the economy of Thessaloniki, Mr. Gariboldi answered: “The first and most direct imprint of the hub in the city and its economy is the employment opportunities it will provide. We are looking to hire more than 200 highly qualified professionals, mainly in the field of technology and information technology.”
“This is a significant number of people and a mass hire in a short period of time. But even more important is that these are jobs in cutting-edge technologies, and what Thessaloniki and the Greek economy in general really needs at this stage of development. We believe that smart units can create genius teams and Pfizer provides the opportunity to achieve this” he noted.
During his interview with AMNA, Mr. Gariboldi was asked about what is expected in terms of deliverables from the Pfizer hub for 2021 and explained that although it is too early to answer this question, “all executives of the company are working methodically, in order to offer innovations that will change people’s lives.”
One important project that Pfizer is looking to work on at the Thessaloniki hub is the LivingWith™ application, which is available in several countries around the world and aims to connect cancer patients with an oncology support system, allowing them to easily and quickly share information with caregivers, but also with their friends and family and remember important information from doctor visits, among other things.
“You can understand how important this application can be for the difficult daily life of these patients,” he concluded.
At the end of his interview, Mr. Gariboldi encouraged people from Greece and Greeks of diaspora, who wish to return to Greece, to visit www.pfizercareers.com and look for new and exciting job opportunities with Pfizer at the Thessaloniki hub, and join a team of carefully selected scientists, who will become the next generation of innovators in the pharmaceutical industry.
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