Pioneer Briefing US Edition

Bayer CEO Bill Anderson speaks with Gabor Steingart

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 © Anne Hufnagl

Good Morning,

My name is Gabor Steingart, and this is the first issue of The Pioneer’s US Briefing. Reporting for duty from Berlin, I will share insights into the latest developments in German politics, business, and technology.

Every weekday morning at 6 a.m. (EST) sharp, I will share a new briefing to keep you up to date on the most relevant news and issues in Europe—in English.

Let’s get to it.

Bill Anderson © Anne Hufnagl / Julian Sander

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Bayer CEO Bill Anderson. He was born and raised in Ohio, Texas, USA, and has an affinity for Europe. With many European postings within various biotech companies, he settled into his new role at Bayer back in June 2023.

We sat down to discuss his new role, his most significant challenges, and how he plans to revolutionize the company from the inside out. Here is what he had to say:

7 questions 7 answers with Bill Anderson

Pioneer: How do you explain the company's recent challenges on the stock market, which have been marked by daily declines in share value and a 55% drop within the last 12 months?

Bill Anderson: We have relatively high debt, a bureaucratic system, and several lawsuits in the US. This combination is concerning for investors. That's why we need to address these issues urgently.

Eine Infografik mit dem Titel: Difficult Times for Bayer

Bayer share price performance since CEO Bill Anderson took office, in percent

Pioneer: So, is there any guarantee that these issues will be dealt with, and if so, how?

Bill Anderson: We are committed to delivering optimal results for our clients in these three key areas. The main problem with bureaucracy is that it removes the power from those directly involved in the work and hinders their ability to make decisions. This setup promotes mediocrity, a scenario that doesn't align with our goals and aspirations.

Pioneer: How will you cut through the bureaucracy and change the culture of this well-established company?

Bill Anderson: You can't get rid of bureaucracy by peeling off pieces of it – you have to go for a whole new system. 95% of the decision-making has to come from the people doing the work – we call this dynamic shared ownership.

Bill Anderson with Gabor Steingart aboard the Pioneer One © Anne Hufnagel

Pioneer: Your approach seems more like a revolution than a simple reform. What is the primary message behind this revolutionary change you're advocating for at Bayer?

Bill Anderson: It's essentially a revolution that says: Every person in a large organization can have the impact of an owner.

Pioneer: Do you think you have the correct people for this cultural change since some of them are already very settled in this long-established Bayer work culture?

Bill Anderson: I believe we're all capable of change. There's no ready source of non-bureaucratic managers to draw from. You have to initiate change within yourself and assist those around you in leaving behind old habits and acquiring new ones.

Pioneer: Some would argue that the company's emphasis on product safety calls for layers of management as a safety net. Given this perspective, how do you plan to maintain coordination and control in Bayer's operations?

Bill Anderson: Even in a regulated environment, many of our actions are not dictated purely by regulation; they often involve personal judgment and choice. It is through these individual and team-driven initiatives that we discover the most effective answers and solutions. In this context, I believe that layers of management are nothing compared to the resourcefulness and drive of individuals and teams.

Pioneer: Do you plan to implement this mission globally within Bayer, including in the United States?

Bill Anderson: Without a doubt, this mission extends globally to every country where Bayer operates. Through my interactions, I've discovered a striking commonality across cultures: people aspire to be part of something remarkable that inspires and excites them, where they can have more agency and decision-making power.

Bill Anderson © Anne Hufnagel

Bottom line: Change and hope have come to Bayer. Investors, employees and the board of directors are now awaiting results. Or, as Henry Ford once famously said:

You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.

  • US President Joe Biden calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

  • Saskia Michalski talks to us about alternative forms of love and life.

  • The film industry celebrated its top films, directors, and actors at last night’s Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

U.S. Army ship "USAV General Frank S. Besson" © dpa

Preparations underway: On Saturday night, the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) announced that the U.S. military has begun transporting equipment to build a temporary pier off the coast of the Gaza Strip. This will facilitate the delivery of up to two million meals per day.

U.S. Army ship "USAV General Frank S. Besson" © dpa

Background: On Thursday, the U.S., along with international partners, announced plans to deliver food, water and medicine to the war-torn region. The construction of the pier is expected to take about 60 days. For this purpose, the Israeli army has agreed to coordinate construction efforts with the U.S. military.

Joe Biden © imago

Call for Ceasefire: As Ramadan begins, calls for a ceasefire are escalating and U.S. President Joe Biden's impatience is growing. The U.S. President has sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he must "pay more attention to the innocent lives that are being lost." The many deaths were "the opposite of what Israel stands for," he warned. Biden made his position clear:

In my view, he is doing more harm to Israel than good.

Palestinian children in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza StripPaul Ronzheimer © imago

In an interview with BILD Vice-President Paul Ronzheimer last night, the Israeli head of government launched a counter-attack. Stating that they are "very close" to victory, "as soon as we start the military action against the remaining terrorist battalions in Rafah, it will be a matter of weeks before the intensive phase of the fighting" is over.

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanjahu © imago

Netanjahu rejected the accusation that Israel was doing too little for the civilians in the Gaza Strip. Israel's policy was "to provide as much humanitarian aid as possible." Hamas itself was responsible for the precarious situation of the population.

A child in the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip © imago

And then Netanyahu makes it personal: the Israeli Prime Minister takes credit for the plan to deliver aid to the population of the Gaza Strip by sea. He claimed that in a phone call with Joe Biden "two weeks after the war began," he proposed "a maritime corridor from Cyprus."

Olaf Scholz © imago

Monday:

  • Chancellor Scholz receives Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim for his inaugural visit to Germany.

  • The Bundestag's Defense Committee convenes for a special session regarding the Taurus leak.

Tuesday:

  • In the morning, Scholz receives Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his inaugural visit.

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases consumer prices for February.

  • Quarterly earnings report: Porsche AG

Wednesday:

  • A cabinet meeting led by Olaf Scholz will take place, followed by Chancellor Scholz's first government questioning of the year by members of the Bundestag.

  • In the evening, the Chancellor continues his week of state receptions. He welcomes Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who is making his first visit to the Federal Chancellery.

  • Quarterly earnings reports: Adidas, E.ON, Volkswagen, Zalando

Thursday:

  • In the afternoon, the Chancellor will meet with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė to discuss European security and economic policy issues.

  • Quarterly earnings reports: Adobe, Hapag-Lloyd, Lanxess, Meyer Burger, Rheinmetall, RTL, RWE

Friday:

  • The Central Federation of the German Construction Industry celebrates its 125th anniversary. Chancellor Olaf Scholz will give a speech at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, and Construction Minister Klara Geywitz is also expected to attend.

  • Quarterly earnings reports: HelloFresh, Vonovia

Saskia Michalski © Instagram, Saskia Michalski

Saskia Michalski identifies as non-binary, meaning they don't strictly identify as male or female. They are also in a polyamorous relationship, which means that they are not exclusive to one partner.

Saskia, a true authority in LGBTQIA+ issues, diversity, and the non-monogamous lifestyle, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. As an influencer, they provide consulting for large companies, guiding them through the complex and ever-evolving landscape of diversity in the workforce.

In a today's episode of the Pioneer Podcast, Saskia and I explored alternative forms of love and life. This discussion offers an opportunity to nurture curiosity, assess our tolerance levels, and deepen our understanding of a society characterized by uniqueness that extends far beyond matters of romance and partnership.

Their wish:

An openness to the diversity of human experience.

I highly recommend tuning into our discussion. Saskia is a bridge builder, adept at illuminating perspectives without imposing them.

Click here to listen to today's episode of the Pioneer Podcast in German.

You can listen to an excerpt from today's conversation in the Pioneer podcast or the whole thing in German here.

Oscar Statue © imago

The film industry's biggest night took place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, celebrating top films, directors, actors and more.

The Oppenheimer crew accepts the Oscar for Best Picture. © Getty Images

The big winner of the evening was the biographical historical film "Oppenheimer," which bagged a total of seven Oscars, including the top prize for Best Picture. Actor Cillian Murphy was honored for his role as J. Robert Oppenheimer with the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, while his co-star and on-screen adversary Robert Downey Jr. was named Best Supporting Actor, receiving his first Oscar.

Filmmaker Christopher Nolan also celebrated his first Oscar for his directing work on "Oppenheimer." The film entered the evening with 13 nominations.

Sandra Hüller at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles © imagoKoji Yakusho, Wim Wenders and Donata Wenders © imago

Germany made its mark with three notable nominations: Sandra Hüller for her outstanding performance in "Anatomy of a Fall," nominated for Best Actress, and directors Wim Wenders and İlker Çatak, whose films "Perfect Days" (representing Japan) and "The Teacher's Lounge" (representing Germany) were nominated in the Best International Film category.

The Germans didn't win directly, but the film "Anatomy of a Fall" featuring Sandra Hüller won the award for Best Original Screenplay. The movie "The Zone of Interest," in which Hüller plays the lead role, was named Best International Film.

The most important winners at a glance

Best Picture: "Oppenheimer."

Best Actress: Emma Stone for her role as Bella Baxter in the eccentric Frankenstein film "Poor Things."

Best Actor: Cillian Murphy for his role as J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Best Screenplay: "Anatomy of a Fall." The screenplay was written by Justine Triet, who was also responsible for the direction alongside her partner Arthur Harari.

Best Director: Christopher Nolan, for his directing work on "Oppenheimer."

Wishing you a wonderful start to your week – Stay informed. Stay with me.

Best wishes,

Pioneer Editor, Editor in Chief, The Pioneer
  1. , Pioneer Editor, Editor in Chief, The Pioneer

Editorial Team

Eleanor Cwik, Alexia Ramos, Lukas Herrmann, Nico Giese & Louisa Thönig

With contributions from: Tatjana Laudien & Luisa Nuhr

Translation Team

Eleanor Cwik & Alexia Ramos

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