2003 Woman Of The Year

Catherine Angell Sohn


Fairfield, NJ, March 3, 2003 — The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has named Catherine Angell Sohn, PharmD, Vice President, Worldwide Business Development and Member of the Executive Committee at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare, as the 2003 “Woman of the Year.” Sohn is being honored for her outstanding achievements in business, her demonstrated leadership and team-building skills and her support for women’s career advancement.

Sohn will be honored at the HBA’s annual Woman of the Year Luncheon, one of the industry’s premier events, to be held on Thursday, May 1, 2003, at the Hilton New York in New York City. The HBA will also recognize an Honorable Mentor who has supported women’s advancement, an HBA Star Volunteer and Rising Stars, women whose careers are on the rise, as nominated by HBA member companies.

Sohn is celebrated by her colleagues for her strategic insight, ability to lead and manage change, her skills in negotiation and diplomacy both within the company and internationally, the courage to take risks, commitment to mentoring, her seemingly boundless energy and optimism and her devotion to family. A plaque on Sohn’s desk announces, “It can be done!”

“Cathy is a leader, a visionary and a mentor who exemplifies the best of HBA,” said Nancy Larsen, president of the HBA and of PROmedica Communications, Inc., New York. “Cathy gives generously of her time and talent to her company, colleagues, community and family. As an active member of the HBA and our Advisory Board, she demonstrates her strong support for the important role of women in advancing health care in our society.”

Sohn has won wide recognition for her leadership in positioning GSK Consumer Healthcare as a major force in the global market. She headed the negotiations for the $1.25 billion acquisition of Block Drug and served as co-leader of the acquisition integration. Sohn also established a successful partnership with Taisho Pharmaceuticals Japan, and has been responsible for licensing agreements with a number of US and European companies.

At the former SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, where she was also a member of the Global Strategic Product Development Executive Committee, Sohn was instrumental in a major initiative to align markets, global marketing and clinical development. Sohn cites the introduction of important new medicines, such as the depression and anxiety disorder treatment, Paxil, and Engerix-B, a vaccine for hepatitis B, in the US, and the global strategic product development for Avandia, GSK’s diabetes treatment, as significant achievements “because of the improvements they have made in people’s lives.”

“Cathy deserves this recognition for her many industry achievements in business development, marketing and clinical research as well as her deep personal commitment to helping others,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Garnier, chief executive officer, GSK. “She is passionate about the business of healthcare and the value our industry brings to society.”

Sohn is also considered a role model and mentor to her colleagues. Doris Gormley, director of Infectious Disease, Business & Commercial Analysis at GSK, said: “While there are many intelligent and capable managers in the industry, it is a rare person who can lead by example and with such generosity of heart – but Catherine Sohn does so on a regular basis. Cathy infuses people with her high-level energy and her unflagging commitment to the goal at hand. Her positive thinking is dazzling and irresistible. She makes working towards a common objective rewarding and fun at the same time.”

Sohn’s commitment to her professional colleagues is shown in her active participation in several professional organizations. In addition to the HBA Advisory Board, Sohn serves on the Board of Directors for both the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the World Self Medication Industry Association and is a member of the Licensing Executives Society, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Pharmaceutical Association and American College of Clinical Pharmacists. She has received many awards and accolades from her colleagues, including the 2000 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year from the University of California, San Francisco, School of Pharmacy.

The honoree’s sense of responsibility to the next generation is evident in her commitment to the education of people who, in Sohn’s words, “devote their lives to making a difference in healthcare and people’s quality of life.” Formerly a Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Sohn also now serves on the Health Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Board of Overseers of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy. She has authored six book chapters and 15 publications on infectious disease, clinical pharmacy, OB-GYN, and non-prescription drug topics.

A native of California, Sohn studied biochemistry at The University of California, Davis, and received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from UCSF. Sohn and her family reside in Voorhees, New Jersey.

2003 Woman of the Year Behind the Scenes

2003 Woman of the Year Luncheon Highlights

The HBA is a national not-for profit organization dedicated to furthering the advancement of women in the healthcare industry. The HBA provides educational opportunities to develop cutting-edge industry knowledge and leadership skills; recognizes outstanding women in the industry; provides opportunities for networking; creates greater visibility for women in the industry; fosters mentoring relationships, and serves as a conduit for research on career advancement issues.

   Click here for Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine Featuring Catherine Angell Sohn

HBA Past Woman of the Year Recipients