Sandeep Singla

40-under-40

The Adaptive Leader Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Sandeep Singla

Associate Vice President - R&D,

IOL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals

The corporate landscape is in a perpetual state of flux. Evolving technology acts as a catalyst, reshaping the very fabric of how businesses operate. For leaders navigating these dynamic winds, adaptability and a proactive embrace of change become indispensable virtues. Sandeep Singla, the Associate Vice President of Research and Development at IOL Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, embodies adaptive leadership, navigating the ever-evolving industry landscape. With over two decades of experience, Sandeep emphasises the importance of agility for leaders, fostering environments that spur innovation and operational efficiency amidst rapid technological changes.
His leadership journey is shaped by pivotal experiences, notably early mentorship instilling core principles like empowerment, effective communication, and leading by example. These principles form the foundation of Sandeep’s leadership style, centred on nurturing teams while setting clear expectations. A significant milestone in his tenure was steering a strategic shift towards a customer-centric paradigm. This transformative approach prioritised understanding and meeting customer needs, aligning every decision to ensure great customer satisfaction. This experience has deeply influenced Sandeep’s leadership ethos, placing considerable emphasis on customercentric decision-making in today’s fiercely competitive landscape.
Sandeep’s career serves as a testament to aligning leadership approaches with industry evolution. In an exclusive interview with TradeFlock, he delved into his leadership style and professional journey.

How have your previous experiences influenced your approach to management in the pharmaceutical sector?

My past roles have deeply shaped my approach to pharmaceutical management. With a broad spectrum of experience, from drug development to sales, I’ve honed a comprehensive understanding of industry intricacies. Regulatory compliance emphasised the paramount need for quality standards. My exposure to market access refined my ability to lead cross-functional teams effectively, fostering seamless collaboration. This journey crafted a management style centred on precision, compliance, collaboration, adaptability, and strategic foresight, all vital for success in this highly regulated and innovative industry like ours.

How does your company foster a culture of innovation and support research and development efforts?

We promote a culture of openness and creativity, urging employees to share ideas and take calculated risks through open innovation workshops. Supporting research and development is multifaceted: we prioritise cross-department collaboration, continuous learning, investment in cuttingedge technology, and strategic partnerships. Our culture encourages calculated risktaking, recognising failures as learning opportunities. This approach integrates innovation into our daily operations, driving us towards groundbreaking discoveries in the pharmaceutical landscape.

You've accomplished remarkable achievements at a young age. Can you discuss a specific project or accomplishment you are particularly proud of and the challenges you faced?

In my diverse pharmaceutical career, I’m proud of leading the development and commercialization of Montelukast early on. Challenges like stabilising the final API and tight deadlines tested adaptability and problem-solving. Concurrently, developing analytical methods and aligning innovation with practicality demanded strong leadership and collaboration.
Navigating these hurdles taught invaluable lessons: the power of adaptability, effective teamwork, and turning obstacles into growth opportunities. Despite challenges, we successfully completed and commercialised the project, reinforcing the importance of perseverance and collaboration. These experiences continue to shape my leadership and problem-solving approaches.

What specific skills or qualities do you believe were instrumental in your career progression?

My career strides owe much to core attributes. Expertise in research and development cements my role as a subject matter expert, enriching company objectives and rendering me as a reliable resource. Effective leadership and adept team management propel successful projects, fostering collaboration across multifaceted departments. Networking proficiency expedites project progression, establishing crucial industry connections. Strong work ethics drive high-quality results, foster a positive work environment, and enhance productivity. Dedication to set goals and disciplined approaches have proven integral, shaping a trajectory steeped in productivity and success within the pharmaceutical landscape.

Can you tell us about any philanthropic or community projects you are involved in and why giving back is essential to you?

I’m deeply involved in philanthropic initiatives that resonate with our company’s values and contribute to community wellbeing. Recently, I’ve been dedicated to a project focusing on the welfare of cow shelter houses, ensuring proper nutrition, living conditions, and medication without resorting to medicinal injections to track milk production. Giving back is paramount to me for several reasons: it aligns with social responsibility, enhances public health, strengthens communities, addresses global challenges, and reflects our company’s values. I firmly believe in the positive impact of charity, which has been instilled in me since childhood, fostering the belief that sharing is caring. Our commitment to philanthropy isn’t merely a duty; it’s an inherent aspect of our identity, signifying our dedication to being a socially conscious and purpose-driven organisation committed to uplifting the communities we serve.

How do you envision the legacy of your work, and what societal or global issues are you most passionate about addressing through your efforts?

My work’s legacy centres on ethical pharmaceutical practices and global health improvement. I strive for environmentally responsible products and accessibility to life-saving medications. Active engagement in zero-effluent discharge programmes minimises environmental impact. Through research and development, I aim to enhance global responses, leaving a meaningful mark on public health and fostering industrywide change towards ethical, sustainable practices.







     







       







         







           







             







               







                 







                   







                     







                       







                         







                           







                             







                               







                                 

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