Friday, March 30, 2012
When Shire announced Mike's resignation as president of the Specialty Pharma business yesterday, I thought back on the many conversations I have been privileged to have with this man. We had a formal excuse—the internal Shire publication that I write—and we would (with the guidance and impetus provided by Charlene McGrady) get the job done.
But when there was time to spare, there would be so much more—conversations about history (personal and global); conversations about science; conversations about the kids Mike would meet along the way in his capacity as basketball coach and quiet giver; conversations about the beach and birds; conversations about the wife and children he deeply cherishes; conversations about chickens, eggs, the resurrection of barns; conversations about books; conversations about his dad. I have consulted since I was twenty-five years old. I have met some special people. Mike Cola will always be, to me, one of those very special people. He cares about big things. He is prophetic. He changes companies and lives in ways both sweeping and small. He looks out across his desk and asks you how you're doing. He remembers (his memory is startling) every last thing you ever told him. He asks how your family is. He asks about the kids you teach and the books you want to write. He comes to your birthday party and he arrives at your house when (almost paralyzed by anxiety) you have invited him for a Dine In/Help Out meal.
Mike Cola is one of the great minds out there—a scientist, a leader, a deep reader and complex thinker, a farmer, a philanthropist, a father, a husband. He could be intimidating, if he wanted to be, but he's too interested in learning and doing more to crowd another out.
I will miss Mike greatly as I continue my travels throughout Shire. But most of all, I wish him happiness—more time with his beautiful wife and kids, with those eggs in that barn, with the birds along the shore, and with whatever great thing he will do next.
Things change. The world opens itself newly.