15 January 2019
Michael Eppelmann

"It’s all speed and constant action"

Whether the Great Wall of China or the silk road starting in Xi’an – China has been a country full of exciting sights for Christopher Beard and his family. From a professional viewpoint, China has also offered him plenty of new insights. Having previously worked for Boehringer Ingelheim in the US and Germany, Christopher has been working in China for almost two years now. In January, he was appointed Head of China swine segment.

A guest feature.

Could you share your experiences regarding the move to Shanghai?

It has definitely been great for both my private and my professional life. Understanding the culture here – which is an ongoing process – has helped me grow. I gradually learned that people with different cultural backgrounds work and lead differently. This has made me both more flexible and stronger in my day-to-day work. And leading the China swine segment, which consists of almost 200 people, is an amazing opportunity for me.


What is it like to work with such a big team?

I enjoy it! Particularly because my colleagues here are passionate about what they do and are willing to learn and adapt to ever-changing situations. I have the impression that people in China are always hungry to try new things. It’s all speed and constant action. In my role here, I have the opportunity to have a positive impact on our customers and our team.


 Was this also your initial motivation for going to China?

It certainly played a role. In addition, Boehringer Ingelheim’s swine business is rapidly growing and has tremendous potential – it’s currently our biggest animal health business in China. Working in our swine unit during my time in the US proved a great experience. Stephen Lange, once Head of the US swine business and now Head of Boehringer Ingelheim’s animal health business in China, encouraged me to take the step and come to China.


What's new in 2019?

In January, we’ll be launching a new swine vaccine production facility in Taizhou. This is great news as we’ll begin producing swine vaccines locally for the first time. And it does justice to our position in the market, because we are already the leader in the swine segment today.


Apart from work – how is your private life in Shanghai?

Moving here from Germany was quite a change for me and my family. The city is always on the move, 24/7. However, Shanghai has an international flavour, which has made it easier for our transition and we adapted fairly quickly.


And how do you spend your free time?

My family and I enjoy travelling very much. We always want to see as much as possible of the country we are currently living in. China has such a rich history and boundless sights to see: we’ve already visited X’ian, China’s first capital with its terracotta army, and we’ve seen the Great Wall and the Summer Palace, to name just a few.


What is your next destination?

In January, we’re planning to visit the Harbin Ice Festival in the far north of China, close to Siberia. The festival is famous for its elaborate ice sculptures, and I expect it to be really beautiful.


How long do you plan to stay in China?

We, as a family, want to stay as long as possible. Shanghai is a great place to be and we’re in no hurry to leave. Professionally, I want to demonstrate success while here in China and I want my team to benefit from me being here. I also want to continue to learn and be challenged – and working in China gives me the chance to grow. This makes it a truly rewarding experience, which I would recommend to anyone. So, don’t be afraid – yes, going to China might be challenging, but you’ll be glad you went.

"Shanghai is a great place to be and we’re in no hurry to leave, says Christopher Beard. "
Michael Eppelmann

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