Alumni Gordon Farquhar

Course studied: BSc (Hons) Pharmacy, 1985

Position at time of writing: CEO of Mannings North Asia

Interesting fact: Gordon has been interviewed on the News at Ten and by Declan Curry on BBC Breakfast

Tell us about your background

I’ve worked in the health and beauty industry for the majority of my career with Boots, Alliance Boots and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Starting in the UK then leading their international business, The Co-operative Pharmacy (now Well Pharmacy) and now in Dairy Farm with Mannings.

My career has allowed me to live in the Netherlands, Japan, New York and Hong Kong, and I’ve had the opportunity to work in a variety of countries across the world.   

Why did you choose Strathclyde?

I did a Bsc (Hons) in Pharmacy in the 80s and I chose Strathclyde because of its great reputation as a Pharmacy School and for the vibrancy of the campus.

The Pharmacy School back then meant that you were savouring the history of the Royal College with the most up to date technology. I remember seeing the first Apple Mac computer being delivered there in 1983.

I spent two great years at the old Baird Hall residences where I made lifelong friends and I was also heavily involved in the Sports Council as Convenor of the Aikido Club for three years. 

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is being able to make a difference to people’s lives, either through improving their health, empowering women and giving them confidence through beauty, and in the day to day leadership of the 2000+ colleagues at Mannings. 

Living in Hong Kong and working here and in China has given me an insight not only into the sheer size of the Chinese consumer spending power and their unique shopping habits, but also into the highly sophisticated omni-channel ecosystem that has been created by companies such as Alibaba, Tencent PinDuoDuo etc. 

What has been your most memorable moment from your career?

The most memorable moment in my career was being at the ringing of the NASDAQ bell when Walgreens Boots Alliance was formed and took its place on the NASDAQ exchange. This was a major merger that shook up the Global Pharmacy Industry to shape the largest Pharmacy and Health and Beauty business in the world.

What are your ambitions for the future?

As we move towards a post-COVID era, I hope that I can continue to play a key role in helping people manage their health and making the most of their lives.