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The 10 Most Influential Data & Analytics Leaders in USA’s Pharma Sector, 2023

A curated list of top industry leaders who are redefining the future of pharmaceuticals through their innovative use of data, analytics, and technology.

The year 2024 marks a pivotal era for the pharmaceutical industry, one brimming with challenges and unprecedented opportunities. As the sector navigates through a labyrinth of complex data, ever-evolving healthcare needs, and the relentless pursuit of innovation, a select group of leaders stand out. These are not just strategists or decision-makers; they are the architects of change, the custodians of data-driven wisdom who turn numbers into narratives and insights into actions. Their role transcends mere analysis; they are the harbingers of a new age in pharma, where data is not just king, but the lifeblood of progress and patient care.

What sets these leaders apart is not just their mastery over numbers, but their vision to foresee the winds of change in a post-pandemic world. They have steered their organizations through the tumultuous tides of 2024, tackling challenges like data privacy, ethical AI, and the integration of big data in drug development with finesse and foresight. Their influence extends beyond corporate corridors; they shape policies, redefine patient care, and spearhead innovations that promise a healthier future. This list is a testament to their indomitable spirit and relentless pursuit of excellence – a celebration of the ten most influential data and analytics leaders in the USA’s pharmaceutical industry who are not just making a difference but are setting the course for the years to come.

(In Alphabetic Order)

Abhishek Narayan Singh

At the heart of Merck’s Human Health division, a visionary leader steers the course of digital solutions and analytics transformation, blending over 19 years of diverse experience in data, analytics, AI, and digital innovation. Based in New Jersey at Merck’s global headquarters, this Chief Analytics Officer is not just a strategist but a catalyst for change, driving patient, customer, and business impact through a transformative data agenda.

With a rich background that spans leadership roles at MetLife, McKinsey & Company, and Mu Sigma, his journey is marked by a trail of corporate innovation and business transformation across various industries and geographies. Renowned for his expertise in customer experience, omni-channel engagement, launch excellence, and product management, he is an alumnus of the Indian School of Business and holds a Bachelor’s degree from NITK, Surathkal. His leadership is a beacon, guiding Merck’s digital and analytical endeavors towards new frontiers of success and excellence.

Andrea Pezzetta

Spearheading the data strategy, analytics, and governance at Ipsen, the Chief Data Officer embodies a global vision for transformative, tech-driven solutions in healthcare and pharma. This role is defined by a dedication to bringing cutting-edge capabilities to business users, facilitating the generation of real-time, impactful insights. With an extensive background that covers the entire spectrum of the pharma industry—from drug discovery to commercialization and product utilization—the Chief Data Officer’s expertise is as comprehensive as it is profound.

This expertise is underpinned by a solid academic foundation, including an M.S. in Information Science from Pennsylvania State University, an M.P.A. from Rutgers University, and a B.A. from Ball State University. At Ipsen, this role is more than a position; it’s a mission to redefine the intersection of data and healthcare, driving innovation and excellence in the pharmaceutical landscape.

Arvind Balasundaram

At the helm of the Commercial Insights & Analytics group in a leading biotechnology firm, this leader steers the course of deep insight generation and data science to revolutionize patient care. With a background encompassing roles at Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson, BristolMyers Squibb, and Pfizer, they bring a wealth of experience in launching industry-leading pharma brands across diverse therapeutic areas.

Their work is fueled by a passion for exploring new capabilities in customer behavior and engagement within omnichannel ecosystems, coupled with a keen interest in the evolving role of machine intelligence and AI in data-driven decision-making. Recognized with the 2023 AI100 Award, this MBA graduate from Vanderbilt University, with credentials in Digital Analytics and Data Science, is not just a leader but a visionary, shaping the future of analytics and AI in healthcare, guided by a mission to transform lives through science.

Krishna Cheriath

As the VP & Head of Digital Data and Analytics at the world’s leading animal health company, this leader orchestrates a multifaceted portfolio encompassing analytics, data science, AI, data strategy, and digital upskilling. Their role extends beyond functional leadership to shaping enterprise risk management and chairing the AI governance council. With a passion for education, they serve as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University and Rutgers Business School, imparting wisdom in digital strategy, data, and analytics.

Their journey to this pivotal position included impactful tenures as the chief data officer and head of digital strategy at Bristol Myers Squibb, and over 15 years in management consulting with major firms. This trajectory illustrates a blend of strategic vision and practical expertise, marking them as a key influencer in driving digital transformation and analytics excellence in the animal health sector.

Madhavi Ramakrishna

As a systems-thinking global vice president and chief digital officer, this leader stands out with distinguished expertise in data analytics, technology, marketing, and digital transformation. Known for their propensity for learning agility and a value-first approach, they specialize in driving data-led culture transformations. Currently at the helm of digital, data, marketing, and content operations and technology transformation at a major pharmaceutical company, they are infusing a data-centric culture to advance business value and customer engagement.

With a rich career history that includes vice president roles at leading media corporations and a strong foundation as a chartered accountant, this leader’s journey through significant positions at major energy and medical companies highlights a formidable blend of vision, strategy, and execution skills, essential in achieving compelling results in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Manik Gupta

Leading Bayer Consumer Health’s Analytics and Insights group in North America, this head is at the vanguard of transforming the business landscape through next-gen bionic capabilities, data, and analytics. Tasked with overseeing diverse Communities of Practice, from Human Truths to Consumer Engagement and Advanced Analytics, he is pivotal in accelerating digital transformation. His career trajectory is a tapestry of innovation and leadership, having previously spearheaded advanced analytics and big data product development for AT&T’s enterprise market, including IoT solutions.

Earlier roles include leading advanced analytics in Georgia-Pacific’s Home Cleaning Solutions business and managing analytics engagements for Fortune 500 clients in various sectors at Deloitte Consulting. With roots in a start-up environment and a foundation in engineering from the National Institute of Technology, India, complemented by a business education from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, his journey reflects a blend of entrepreneurial spirit and analytical acumen, making him a key architect in shaping the future of consumer health analytics.

Rajvir Madan

Transitioning from senior leadership roles in the cosmetics industry to the pharmaceutical sector nearly a decade ago, motivated by a personal drive to accelerate the future through data, analytics, and technology in life sciences, a leader emerges with a unique mission. Currently serving as the Chief Digital and Information Technology Officer at a medical dermatology company, their journey is underscored by their commitment to making a significant impact in the healthcare domain.

With previous global roles at major pharmaceutical companies, this leader not only brings a wealth of technological and analytical expertise but also a deep personal connection to their work. Beyond their professional accomplishments, they are fervently dedicated to promoting equity for underrepresented groups and women in the workplace, actively involved in facilitating initiatives like the IAmRemarkable campaign. This dedication, combined with their recent recognition as one of the most influential leaders in AI, highlights their unique blend of technical acumen, personal mission, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Sanjay Choubey

Serving as the VP and CIO/CDO (North America) for a renowned pharmaceutical company, this leader is a testament to the power of strategic vision in digital and process excellence. With a proven track record of defining and implementing large-scale business and technology transformations, they have successfully developed and implemented differentiated solutions, managing global initiatives with substantial budgets and team sizes in a matrix environment.

With decades of industry experience in regulated product environments, including pharma and medical devices, their expertise extends across various operational domains like sales, finance, planning, procurement, and inventory management. Known for their innovative and proactive leadership style, they excel in building strong business relationships at the highest corporate levels, combining their rich experience in both corporate sectors and top-tier consulting firms. This leader’s ability to architect, design, and digitally enable process solutions has made a significant impact in numerous organizations, demonstrating a unique blend of hands-on leadership and strategic acumen in driving digital transformation in the healthcare industry.

Shameer Khader

At the forefront of computational biology and precision medicine at a leading global biopharmaceutical company, this seasoned leader excels in melding healthcare, life sciences, and AI. With a focus on building multidisciplinary teams, they spearhead the creation of a pioneering multi-modal disease research data repository, merging diverse data types to enhance drug discovery and development.

Their impressive career includes founding a major Data Science & AI team at a renowned pharmaceutical company and leading precision medicine initiatives at top health systems. Holding a PhD in computational biology and an MPH, their work is marked by significant contributions to biomedicine, including over 130 peer-reviewed publications and patents, showcasing a deep commitment to advancing healthcare through innovative computational and AI-driven approaches.

Tifani McCann

With nearly a quarter-century of experience in the Pharmaceutical and CRO industries, this enterprise leader has evolved from a technical expert to an influential figure in creating value from data. Known for their data-guided risk-taking approach, they have successfully established and transformed operating models, ensuring high-quality outcomes with measurable business impacts and efficiencies.

This has significantly improved organizational delivery against enterprise priorities. More than their technical and leadership achievements, what stands out is their passion for attracting, retaining, engaging, and developing effective technical teams and leaders, reflecting a deep commitment to nurturing talent and fostering a culture of excellence and innovation in the industry.

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