WEM News: What was your biggest challenge when launching the Boehringer CHC business in Turkey?
JÜRGEN FRITZ: Being a continental, Western European individual and managing a team of nearly 100 sales reps and seven internal head-counts, while at the same time establishing a successful Rx business within a highly volatile market environment, provided me with significant challenges on a daily basis. Cultural and managerial differences, which may not be apparent at first glance, require a solid fundamental knowledge and a sense of humour.
WEM News: What was your nicest experience in Turkey?
FRITZ: The people! Even during the toughest moments of my four-and-a-half years in Turkey – and there were indeed many of them! – the highly dedicated spirit of my sales and marketing team provided me with the needed “Return On Investment” and pride required to keep on going.
WEM News: How do you feel about the future growth potential for OTC brands and non-generic Rx brands in Turkey?
FRITZ: Turkey has a very strong local GX business, with competitive prices. It is rather difficult to launch a new OTC brand in such a market environment. However, due to an increasing population, as well as a significantly increasing number of middle-class consumers, premium western OTC brands will find their way to Turkish consumers’ brains. As in many other Emerging Markets, OTC brands, which exhibit fast onset action (eg, RhinoPRONT®), definitely meet Turkish consumer expectations. Busy people need fast and effective medication!
WEM News: What are the three key factors in developing a successful OTC/Rx business in Turkey?
FRITZ: 1) Select brands that deliver what they promise; 2) Do NOT expect to break even before your third year. Turkey is a strategic investment that requires a long haul; 3) Solid managerial and cross-cultural skills are crucial.
WEM News: And finally…would you please share with our readers your favourite Istanbul restaurant?
FRITZ: Of course, there are plenty of those. Istanbul is a colourful, busy and multi-cultural city with around 16-18 million inhabitants from all over the globe. My favourite restaurant is located in the formerly Greek-Ottoman neighbourhood of Fanari (today Fener), at the Golden Horn on the European shores. It is called Asitane (www.asitanerestaurant.com). Asitane’s famous chef prepares “ancient Ottoman dishes” based on recipes that date back to the 15th century. Reservations are required(0090 212 635 7997). Enjoy!
ABOUT JÜRGEN FRITZ
Jürgen Fritz (48) has a track record of more than twenty years of successful OTC and Rx experience, primarily in the Emerging Markets, with a main focus on the CEE region, Turkey and the Near-Middle East. In 1996, he launched the VMS brand Doppelherz in Russia, the Baltics and Poland before moving on to Procter & Gamble Medical Hygiene in the CEE and NMEA markets. In 2007, Mr Fritz started up Boehringer Ingelheim’s ‘last white spot’, a Turkish CHC business that manages brands such as Thomapyrin, Buscopan, Pharmaton, Dulcolax and Antistax. Mr. Fritz joined the Recordati Group in 2012 as a member of its local management team.
Today, Mr. Fritz is married with two children and lives with his family in Mainz, Germany.