Bridging two companies, two cultures, two countries: A Q&A with Martin Hirsch and Ron Fuchs


globe puzzle pieces_745X300Unifying two diverse workforces is no easy task. Add two uniquely different company cultures and countries and you’re presented with quite the communication project.

IABC recently spoke with Martin Hirsch, senior adviser and business partner of group communications for Roche, and Ron Fuchs, APR, Roche’s head of communications services, about their experience unifying the Swiss company Roche with the American company Genentech. Hirsch and Fuchs also share the key elements of successful global corporate communication.


What were some of the communication challenges you faced during the integration of the Swiss healthcare company Roche and Genentech, an American biotech company?

Following the integration, senior management began to get the message that people were unclear about the company’s identity and purpose. Even though Roche and Genentech share very similar fundamental values about innovation and serving patients, the cultures, personalities and approaches were so different that something needed to be done to bridge the divide. Even the style and tone of the way the two companies convey their commitment to patients is quite different, which posed another challenge.


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