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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Genzyme: The Price of Success
Two days before I went to visit Genzyme, Theo Epstein, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, announced his resignation. Epstein became an icon in October 2004, when his team won its first World Series since 1918. Sox fans or not, people everywhere were stunned by what he had accomplished at such a young age—Epstein was 30 when the Sox took home the pennant, and just 28 when he was named to the top post. But to Bostonians, Epstein was special not just because he climaxed professionally before most people get going, but also because of his willingness to do things his own way. The people of Boston loved Theo for his guts: About seven months into his tenure, in a defining moment, Epstein traded star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra for two comparatively unknown players, Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. Fans squealed. Radio talk show hosts predicted the team's demise. Players feared they'd been doomed. But Epstein stood by his decision. And a few centerfield smacks by Cabrera later, he had the whole town standing beside him.
Reflecting Twenty-two-million dollars of the total building costs for Genzyme's new headquarters went toward making it "green," or environmentally responsible. Here, CEO Termeer looks up at the entryway's hanging prisms, which resemble falling graduation caps and reflect rainbows throughout the building.
Given the general sentiment toward Epstein, it's no surprise that several people I met with from Genzyme broke the ice by commenting on his decision to leave the team. All Boston-area residents, Genzyme executives were as susceptible as anyone to the citywide crush on this boy wonder—maybe even more so. Genzymers, perhaps, felt a kinship with Epstein.

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Sara Calabro .
Pharmaceutical Executive, Mar 1, 2006 .


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