celebrating Mike Cola, Shire President, as he steps toward a new future

Friday, March 30, 2012

I don't often bring my business life onto this literary blog, but today has to be different.  Today I wish to honor Mike Cola, with whom I have had the pleasure of working at various corporations for the past two decades. Since 2005, Mike has been at Shire, a company that has grown from one primarily dependent on a single product to one now serving patients all over the world with a wide range of central nervous system, gastrointestinal, and renal treatments—and a company (most importantly) with a burgeoning Specialty development pipeline, thanks in large part to Mike's innovative, questing, and (quite frankly) brilliant mind.  Thanks, too, to the team Mike built.

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.



Serena said...

Well wishes for him on his next journey. It's funny how close you can become to people you work for/with

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP