David Pyott

Born: November 16, 2018 | London, GB
Died: November 16, 2018
Portrait of David Pyott

photo provided by David Pyott

In this brief interview with the Life Sciences Foundation, David Pyott recalls his upbringing, education and career attainments at Sandoz/Novartis and Allergan.

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The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.


Interview Details

Interview no.: Research Interview 0039RI
No. of pages: 22

Interview Sessions

Arnold Thackray
8 November 2011
Irvine, California

Abstract of Interview

David Pyott was raised in India and Scotland. An early love of languages led him to work and study in mainland Europe, while pursuing a BA in German language and literature at the University of Edinburgh. Later, he added a diploma in European and International Law from the University of Amsterdam and an MBA from the London Business School. Pyott began his career in the City of London, handling German banking clients for Kleinwort Benson. He soon moved on to Switzerland, where he worked in the nutrition division of Sandoz (later Novartis, after merging with Ciba-Geigy). Various international postings followed before he joined Allergan in the United States in 1998, as President and CEO. Pyott now serves as Chairman of the Board, as well. In the last ten years, he has overseen the company’s growth in ‘medical aesthetics.’ Allergan’s Botox and Juvéderm products are important revenue generators alongside the company’s other specialty ophthalmic products that continue to enjoy great commercial success. Pyott is currently active on the boards of Edwards Lifesciences Corporation and Avery Dennison Corporation. He has also served as a director for the California Healthcare Initiative and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. He was honored in 2006 by Queen Elizabeth II and made a Commander of the British Empire for services to British business excellence in the United States.

Table of Contents

Interviewee Bio
Interviewer Bio
About this Transcript
8 November 2011: Family and Education, 1953-1980

Family background; University, languages and European experiences; working for Goodyear in Ohio; Kleinwort Benson; pursuing an MBA; first marriage and leaving the United Kingdom.

8 November 2011: Sandoz/Novartis, 1980-1997

Joining Sandoz; Ovaltine in Malaysia; moving to Vienna; divorce and remarriage; being sent to Spain; moving to the United States; Optifast; returning to Europe: Switzerland; formation of Novartis; dissatisfaction with job; desire to return to United States.

8 November 2011: Allergan, 1997

Interviewing for Allergan; initial impressions and plans for the company; reducing general and administrative costs; Alphagan®; identifying Botox® as an opportunity; modernizing manufacturing; building a sales force; investing in research and development; spinning off  Advanced Medical Optics (now Abbott); growth of Botox; Juvéderm®; acquiring Inamed; coining the term ‘medical aesthetics’; 2008 recession; current research.

About the Interviewer

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.