Exclusive Interview with Rafic Bechara – Head of HR ANZ at Shire Pharmaceuticals


1. Could you tell me a little bit more about yourself and your role at Shire? My role at Shire is a country HR role mainly supporting the Commercial business in Australia and NZ. The role also supports the many functions that are based in the Sydney office. I am basically responsible for the people strategy that feeds into the regional and then international strategy. The role is generalist in nature so it is quite varied but supports the leadership team in attracting, developing and retaining staff.

2. What are you focused on right now?

Two big focuses for 2017. One being the relocation of the head office from North Ryde into the City. The other big focus is the integration and harmonisation activities after the purchase of Baxalta.

3. How is the role of the HR function within Shire  responding to the current aims and challenges of your business?

The HR function is supporting all the integration activities to provide  common policies, processes and platforms as we become one team.

4. What do you see as the main challenge that the HR function faces in the future?

Attracting and retaining key talent I believe will be a challenge that faces businesses and HR alike. As businesses become more HR sophisticated and our labour pool in Australia shrinks the challenge will become greater. HR needs to continually innovate and differentiate the employee offering.

5. What key characteristics do you look for in HR professionals when recruiting for your team?

A passion to not only work in HR but to work closely with the commercial business that HR supports. I believe understanding the business and customer makes a very good HR professional.

6. What is the best career advice you have ever been given?

Listen to your gut or internal dialogue. Career isn’t always text book progression- you should have a sense of what is good for your career and when it’s not-make a change.

7. What do you love most about your role?

Two main things. One is of course the people you work with. That is key, if you don’t enjoy the team around you any job becomes a chore. Secondly, the motivation you get when you know you are contributing to the success of a business.

8. Best place or holiday destination you have visited?

I have been lucky to visit many countries in Europe, Middle East as well as the USA. I honestly cant rate the ‘best” because all the destinations I have visited have been remarkable in their own way.


< return to previous page