Flemming Ornskov - Shire

Flemming who? 

Name: Flemming Ornskov
Title: CEO-designate, Shire

It would be fair to say that Flemming Ornskov's influence has largely been borrowed--for now--from one of the highest profile players in biotech. A few weeks ago he stepped in to begin a short executive apprenticeship at Shire ($SHPG), where he will soon take the helm from departing CEO Angus Russell. The Bayer marketing vet won a choice position in the move. Over Russell's 13-year stint at the head of Shire he made it into one of the most influential companies in the industry, helping to inspire the industry's focus on rare diseases as a major niche.

Russell has proven to be a savvy dealmaker and a well-respected CEO,more interested in building his company than feathering his own nest. In addition to building up the specialty and rare-disease side of the business with acquisitions like the $565 million buyout of Movetis in 2010 and FerroKin for $350 million, and diversifying a business with a traditional reliance on its ADHD franchise, he also created another company wing focused on regenerative medicine, buying Advanced BioHealing and Pervasis.

Company campuses now span the globe, with a new facility in Lexington, MA, for HGT.

Not all of the company's licensing pacts have worked as hoped, not a shocking event in biotech. But there has been enough success along the way to earn Shire the open admiration of a full chorus of analysts.

Its track record has helped make Shire one of the most prominent biotechs in R&D. So it's no wonder that when analysts start to wonder about what kind of buyout could change the fortunes of a troubled giant like AstraZeneca ($AZN), Shire comes up as an automatic candidate. That's the kind of reputation that influences everyone in the industry.

Ornskov's sudden influence in the business is due entirely to Russell's lengthy and successful turn at the head of this company. It will be up to him to continue the building, or broker a deal that would make his colleagues in the executive suite nod their heads in admiration.

-- John Carroll (email | Twitter)

Flemming Ornskov - Shire