A global finance executive with a passion for healthcare, Constellation Pharmaceuticals CFO Emma Reeve offers straightforward advice to aspiring finance chiefs: Continually add new experiences to your backpack and take them with you to your next role. She’s certainly demonstrated that her approach works. Reeve’s 20-plus years of industry experiences extends across pharmaceutical, medical device, and bio-pharma companies, including big-name corporations (like Novartis, Merck, and Bristol-Myers Squibb), as well as development-stage biotech companies (Inotek Pharmaceuticals and Aton Pharma).
While she methodically sought out experience in FP&A, accounting, investor relations, and just about every other corporate finance function, Reeve credits her work outside the finance and accounting realm—interacting with patient advocacy groups, partnering with business leaders, and collaborating with the marketing function—with helping her to reach the CFO office for the first time in 2002.
Subscribe to CFO Thought Leader
Guest: Emma Reeve
Headquarters: Cambridge, MA
CFOTL: We always like to ask for a finance strategic moment … what would you share with us?
Reeve: I think that given the recent experience at Constellation, clearly the experience of going through the IPO is probably top-of-mind. You know, I joined in order to help drive this turnaround in the company, joining a new CEO and a team that melded both the deep scientific knowledge already in the company with the new players on the team. We clearly knew that we needed to raise money. These businesses have a voracious appetite for capital, and particularly when you’re in clinical trials, it’s more expensive than when you’re working at the lab stage.
So we knew we needed to raise money. And then I think the decision then to roll straight from that into the IPO, straight from the crossover round into the IPO, was that strategic moment that said, “Okay, now’s the time to go.”
The markets were open. We were concerned that they might not be open later in the year, given the political situation. So we decided to push forward and get on there, and it was a big team effort, a lot of people in the company involved. I have a very small team in finance. We’re a small company, finance is a small team. And so everybody had to pitch in to get the IPO done.