Quintiles' head of clinical development is retiring after 30 years

Paula Brown Stafford

Paula Brown Stafford, a 30-year veteran of Quintiles ($Q), is planning to retire from the world's largest CRO at the end of the year, wrapping up her tenure as president of clinical development.

Stafford joined the company in 1985, three years after its incorporation, and was Quintiles' 23rd employee, according to the News & Observer. The CRO has since grown into a Fortune 500 company, employing more than 35,000 people around the globe, and Stafford has risen through the ranks to lead Quintiles' key clinical trials business.

Leaving Quintiles, Stafford plans to spend more time with her family, the company said, and in the nonprofit organizations she helps to lead, including the Public Health Foundation Board at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association Advisory Board.

Under her leadership, Quintiles' clinical development business has become a global leader in outsourced trials, expanding the traditional CRO relationship to include deep-seated partnerships that put the company's experts at the decisionmaking table with its clients. Such deals with Merck KGaA and Biogen ($BIIB) marked an evolution in how biopharma companies and their vendors interact, and Quintiles has since created a scalable offering it says can extend the same customized R&D service to companies of all sizes.

Stafford, profiled in FierceBiotech's 2012 Women in Biotech feature, said she made a point throughout her career at Quintiles to ensure that the company maintained a commitment to diversity as it grew in an effort "to make sure there was a culture at Quintiles so every woman who joined knew there was nothing there in their way."

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Special Report: Women in Biotech 2012 - Paula Brown Stafford

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