John Klein has held various leadership positions throughout the healthcare industry for over 30 years. At every company he’s worked for, John has been instrumental in leading the company’s growth and increased profitability.
John Klein started his career with Zenith Laboratories in 1988. John served as President & CEO of the major manufacturer and distributor of generic drugs for a few years. In the mid-1990s, Zenith was acquired by Ivax, NA, the largest generic drug company that was active in the industry at the time. After the acquisition, John Klein continued to serve as President and helped increase the company’s shareholder value to over $1 billion. He then went on to become Chairman & CEO of MIM Corp., where he also had similar success.
John Klein continued to lead other pharmaceutical and healthcare-related companies such as Cybear, Strategic Business & Technology Solutions, and NovaDel Pharma, Inc. before taking a position as Lead Independent Director of Kindred Healthcare, a nationwide hospital, rehab center, and nursing home company, in 2001.
While John Klein was working at Kindred Healthcare, he also founded Dava Pharmaceutical Company, which manufactured and distributed prescription drugs worldwide. After eight years, John sold Dava to Endo International, a specialty branded pharmaceutical company, so he could focus full-time on his new venture, Cambridge Therapeutic Technologies.
John Klein launched Cambridge Therapeutic Technologies in 2011, where he served as Chairman & CEO until 2017. His forward-thinking pharmaceutical company provided innovative combination drug therapies to patients and their clients, which ranged from single physician offices to major medical complexes, across the country.
Today, John Klein serves as Founder & CEO of BILogix, an enterprise performance management firm that supports organizations in establishing strategic objectives and assessing their readiness to expand their operations and market reach to increase their efficiency and meet their financial goals.
An accomplished and trusted pharmaceutical executive, John Klein has been recognized by Business Week and has received other accolades, including: earning 11th place on Forbes’ list of the Top 100 CEOs, being recognized with a Bronze Standing from Wall Street Transcripts, and receiving the Outstanding CEO Award from Mitchell and Company. He was also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
A community-focused leader, John Klein served on the board of trustees of the Dwight Englewood School, an independent coeducational college preparatory institution in New Jersey, for three years, and also serves on the board at the Hackensack Meridian Health Hospitals. He is active in the support and research of areas including autism, Alzheimers, and therapy for triple-negative breast cancer.
Our Interview with John Klein
Question: Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
John Klein: Don’t misjudge decisions that people make in the marketplace as it concerns products and services. It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to a decision, but that rarely ends up being a good thing. Another lesson I’ve learned from failure is that you should also always learn from your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, whether you’re just starting your career or you’re a decades-long entrepreneur. Anyone who says otherwise has never really pushed themselves, and that’s just as bad.
Question: What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
John Klein: When you are first starting to build your career, it’s remarkably difficult to stay organized as your list of responsibilities and tasks continues to grow and grow. Managing my calendar and staying on top of to-do lists was something I put a lot of time into at the beginning, but now I’ve realized how technology and tools can be an organizational time-saver. With these methods, I spend less time worrying about staying organized so I can focus my full attention on what actually needs to get done.
Question: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
John Klein: I know it’s not necessarily a new and exciting tool, but Microsoft Outlook is a software I couldn’t imagine living without. It is more than sufficient for my needs and stays up-to-date, so I don’t have to worry about outdated software bogging me down.
Question: What excites you the most about your industry right now?
John Klein: I’m in the pharmaceutical industry, so two of the most exciting trends are mail-order and telemedicine. They’ve been around for quite some time now, but have usually been pushed to the background by larger retail channels, even though these channels also use mail-order and telemedicine within their own organizations. But they’re becoming impossible to ignore, especially because of COVID-19, so I think we’ll see these trends explode within the next few years.
Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
John Klein: Research constantly. In my position, it’s critical that I spend a lot of time looking at therapeutic classes and the highest prescribing drugs within these classes. Through my research, I can begin to create protocols for particular physician practices and begin to make phone calls to these areas to see if they have any interest in the therapies I’ve designed. But I can only be productive when I have all the information I need at-hand, or else I could never get things done as quickly.
Question: What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
John Klein: I don’t think you just ever earn a seat at the table. Instead, it’s a seat you have to continue fighting for throughout your career. So, my biggest piece of advice would be to never grow complacent in your position. Industries are taken over by new competitors every day who come into the field and do what no one else is doing. It happens all the time. If you grow complacent, you can never grow and improve, and you will eventually lose your seat at the table to someone who is more hungry for innovation.
Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
John Klein: Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim. It carries an incredibly strong message that still impacts me today.
Question: Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
John Klein: It’s important to have a balance of both. But if I had to choose, I would probably say common sense. One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill, who said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I believe people with common sense know that they will make mistakes throughout their lifetime, and the only way to overcome these hurdles is to learn and grow from what they do wrong. I believe that highly intelligent people also do this, but they are more hesitant because they don’t want to admit they make mistakes. But I’ve seen incredibly smart leaders across various industries destroy their careers because they were unwilling to be as flexible in the face of failure and transformation.
Question: What would you consider to be the perfect day?
John Klein: At work, any time I get to improve upon patient medication and therapies that make their lives better. Being an advocate for patients is my passion. And personally, my perfect day would be spending time with family and friends.