By Rosalie Harrison
When we work with chief medical officers (CMOs), circus metaphors abound. “It is like this,” one CMO told me: “I am trying to balance many plates, but none of them are spinning.” Another confided, “I feel like I’m juggling with fiery torches,” and yet another described her work as “performing on a trapeze with absolutely no net.”
Despite these challenges, the allure to “run away” to join a biotech is undeniable. Feeling trapped in endless meetings and a constant battle for project-funding relevance — or simply tired of waiting around on the next rung of the ladder — we frequently work with MDs drawn to roles that promise hands-on, strategic impact and the possibility for more agile decision-making. The allure is particularly strong, of course, if it is the coveted (and often romanticized role) of chief medical officer.