Angelo Centrone discusses being part of global network Nextcontinent

20 July 2021 5 min. read

Angelo Centrone is the country leader of Eurogroup Consulting in Italy, and a leader within Nextcontinent’s healthcare & life sciences community. We spoke to Centrone about the concept of people driven and collaborative leadership, and how being part of the organisation has helped the firm he leads better meet the challenges of a pandemic.

Nextcontinent is a network of leading independent consultancies in their respective markets, who are united by an entrepreneurial vision. As there is no binding financially-based contract between constituents, firms involved are referred to as ‘citizens’ rather than ‘members,’ as the relationship they have with the network is based on rights and responsibilities.

Nextcontinent’s pool of consultancies now includes 15 citizens, operating across 35 countries. The geographical reach of the association has many benefits, but citizens are particularly keen to point to two of them.

Angelo Centrone, Country Leader of Eurogroup Consulting Italy

First, the biggest industry players are global entities, and as a result when they turn to consultants for help with pressing transformations, they prioritise firms with international footprints to consult with. Being part of an international network means that local or national players are able to vie for such high-impact framework agreements, without having to go through the expensive process of establishing subsidiaries in all other relevant markets.

Second, being part of a diverse global network of experts means that citizens can draw on huge communities when it comes to knowledge sharing and best practices. This can help citizens find innovative new methods to get a competitive edge over other firms in their domestic markets during times of economic growth, or, as Angelo Centrone explained to, it can help them to adapt quickly during periods of intense crisis.

“Of course, life sciences is one of the sectors not facing a major crisis currently, but there are still many things to do,” explained the Eurogroup Consulting Italy partner. “The pandemic saw everyone (re)discover the importance of the healthcare system – and likewise, the life sciences sector is essential as it is the origin for vaccines and medicines.”

“What the crisis also has demonstrated is the fragility of the manufacturing and distribution chain of the pharma sector, which many didn’t realise before – but now I think everyone understands how relevant this facet is.”

A three-decade consulting industry veteran, Centrone joined Eurogroup Consulting in 2007 just ahead of the world’s last global recession, having spent earlier periods with Andersen Consulting, Mediamed Interactive and Improvance. According to him, the nature of this particular crisis has caused problems for the life sciences sector, but also presented it with opportunities, and much of his recent work with Eurogroup has involved helping clients make the most of these chances for progress.

When the world was in its darkest hour, “the pharmaceuticals industry needed to pivot quickly in order to support healthcare – but this revealed substantial vulnerabilities within its value chain, while also highlighting areas in which previously slow digitalisation meant distribution of important materials ground to a halt during the initial lockdown months.”

As a result, Eurogroup is helping “several companies with restructuring (particularly in the pharmaceutical and health services segments), accelerating their digital transformation plans, post-Covid-19 strategies, supply chain resilience and optimisation programs.”

While the sector at the outset may be flourishing, this is to an extent deceiving. “The life sciences sector may not face a crisis [in financial terms], but it needs to modernise to remain sustainable,” said Centrone.

People driven versus organisation driven

At Nextcontinent, people come first. As one of Nextcontinent’s founding members, Centrone asserted that people are at the heart of business, “not processes nor structure.” Therefore, the more people from the network can “meet and know each other,” the more easy it is for them (and the firm) to work together for the benefit of clients.

He added, “I was very organisation driven initially – but what I have seen and am seeing now is that the real business in the end is people, and you need to put the people in contact so they can work better together.”

As country leader, Centrone brought this philosophy to Eurogroup Consulting Italy and explained, “For example, in Italy, we enable all our people to contact anyone in the network, at any time. Since the pandemic, Eurogroup Consulting Italy launched regular meetings digitally, and every time we have that meeting we invite a country manager from another citizen to introduce their teams, so people can get acquainted and feel comfortable reaching out.”

This is also spreading throughout the ranks of other citizens. As Nextcontinent looks to encourage more young members to become part of its knowledge-sharing culture, Eurogroup Consulting Italy has also launched bilateral meetings for junior professionals and consultants.

Collaborative leadership

For Nextcontinent’s citizens, being part of the knowledge-pool of Nextcontinent has played an important role in driving their expertise and cross-border offerings. Having led the healthcare & life sciences community for eight years (he recently passed on the baton to Cheryl Wolf of Point B), Centrone has seen this first-hand.

“As a business community leader, we don’t have any power because we are among peers. We suggest and advise rather than impose. At Nextcontinent I have experienced that leadership without organisational structures and power results in more effective results, and a more pleasant process along the way.”

As the organisation continues to expand with new citizens, the network is only set to further enrich the expertise of its constituents and clients. The collaborative nature of Nextcontinent has even helped an expert like Centrone learn new tricks that, as country leader, he was able to implement at Eurogroup Consulting Italy.

Concluding on a personal note, Centrone said, “Nextcontinent’s way of working has helped me learn a lot about the power of collaborative leadership.”