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Cultural understanding as the foundation for success – Orion’s country organisations in Southern Europe

Orion employs around 100 sales and marketing professionals in the Southern Europe market area. The teams are responsible for implementing Orion’s strategy in each country. Knowledge of the country’s culture and operating environment is a prerequisite for success.   
6/18/2024 Author / Anni Turpeinen

Orion’s country organisations are responsible for Orion’s international business, strategy implementation and growth in specific geographic regions. In Southern Europe, Orion has its own country organisations in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and the Balkans.   
In total, around 100 Orionees work in these country organisations. They are responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of Orion products in their respective areas and work closely with local healthcare professionals.  
“You might think that sales and marketing is the same in all countries in Southern Europe, but this is not the case. While our cultures have much in common, there are significant differences between countries – that's why we need country organisations,” says Gabriele Baccelli, Head of Region Southern Europe and Country Manager, Italy. 

Good practices are shared openly 

The Branded Products business division is responsible for the sales and marketing of Orion's in-house developed cornerstone products. The division is in charge of launching and growing new branded products in the specialities of respiratory diseases, Parkinson's disease, other central nervous system diseases, and women's health through own development and in-licensing.  
“We are aiming for strong growth, especially in this business area. We have been actively working on a new growth strategy for the past year, and now we are ready for action,” says Baccelli.  
Country organisations are responsible for shaping their own country’s sales and marketing strategy to what suits their country best – and for then implementing it. They also share information on good practices with other countries and consider how to use the experiences gained to benefit their own work.  
Understanding the ways of your own country lays a foundation for sales, marketing and communication activities. Baccelli says that in Spain, for example, the brand is more highly valued than in other Southern European countries when a patent expires and market is in full generic game, which has a direct impact on the sales of proprietary medicines and the success of generic products.   
“In Greece, it is important to take traditional values into account in marketing plans, while Italy is known for its complicated bureaucracy and strict regulation. It can be difficult for foreign companies to navigate the bureaucracy, and this is precisely where a local country organisation can be a great help,” says Baccelli.  

Culture of open discussion unites teams  

In the Southern European country organisations, working days are filled with heated discussion, as Baccelli says that they are all united by a culture of open discussion. In Southern Europe, it is common to discuss business matters at lunches or dinners, which are often organised by Orionees in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.  


We have lively discussion about work-related issues also while eating spaghetti or tapas in a restaurant during working lunches or dinners. We trust each other and that’s precisely why we feel we can be ourselves and express our views boldly and loudly.”

Gabriele Baccelli, Head of Region Southern Europe and Country Manager, Italy

According to Baccelli, the warm-hearted culture comes from respecting the views of employees and taking care of their well-being by solving challenges together. And working hours are respected.    
“We always remember to celebrate our successes! We celebrate our sales results each month and analyse why the results are what they are. This motivates the teams: we learn both from mistakes and from positive results.”  

This is what it means to be an Orionee in the words of the employees 

“I am an Orionee, but I am also a mother and a person” 

“At Orion, decisions are always made together, and everyone can share their views whenever they want. I'm a marketing professional, but this doesn't prevent me from contributing to medical or sales discussions. We also remember that it is important to have fun!   
“I'm used to being seen as a hard worker, but at Orion my human side is also taken into account. I am an Orionee, but I am also a mother and a person. At work, people often ask me how I am and how my family is doing. That always feels good. And when I feel good, I get a lot done.”     
Francesca Silvestri, Brand Digital Manager, Italy 

“We have the courage to try new things” 

“The honesty, trust and confidence involved in the way people work surprised me when I joined Orion. When we see an opportunity for business growth, we seize it. We are a brave team, and we have the courage to try new things!  
“We have a daily coffee break together where we talk about everything other than work. At our annual motivational meeting in the Madrid area, we not only discuss strategies and sales figures, we also play sports and have a barbecue together.”   
Bernando de Rafael, Country Manager, Iberia

“I can give the managers my opinion” 

“I’ve never worked for a company that values its employees as much as Orion does. At Orion, everyone is free to be themselves and to express their opinions without a filter. I can tell my managers directly what I think, if I want to.  
“I work in a finance department where our days are filled with due dates, deadlines and bureaucracy. Yet, we often come up with little amusing things to brighten up the day. For example, we have a program called ZOR, which we use a lot, and my colleague came up with the idea of making a Zorro mask at home, and we now wear this mask whenever we are using ZOR.”  
Rosa Galioto, Region SE Controller and Head of Finance, Italy