Barbara Schädler | Influence 100

Barbara Schädler

Head of Group Communications 



Barbara Schädler joined Roche in October 2019, just a few short months before Covid changed the world. While this was her first foray into pharmaceutical and diagnostics communications, after nearly four years, she fully understands the global communications challenges and opportunities surrounding the healthcare industry across both pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.

Schädler seems to impress wherever she goes: as she left her previous role at European electric company E.ON, chief executive Johannes Teyssen said she had “significantly enhanced the company‘s public reputation as well as employee involvement” in her three years with the firm. Schädler had joined E.ON from Lufthansa, where she spent three years as SVP of communications. Before joining the airline, Schädler was global communications SVP at SAP. She was also the CEO and founder of Impact Consult, and has worked at Fujitsu Siemens and the German Ministry of Finance.

As head of global communications at one of the world’s largest biotech, Schädler is a member of its Extended Executive Committee, and is also a founding member of Global Women in PR Deutschland.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?

Yes, rebuilding Lufthansa's reputation after the GermanWings crash.

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?

Data-driven insights: the availability of data and advanced analytics provides communication professionals with valuable insights into audience behaviour, preferences, and sentiment. By leveraging data, we can refine our communication strategies, tailor messages, drive engagement and measure the impact of our efforts more effectively.

What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?

Crisis communication: Many organizations and communication professionals have been recognized for their effective crisis communication strategies during challenging times, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Clear, transparent, and timely communication has been crucial in disseminating critical information, promoting public health measures, and maintaining trust.

What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?

That we contribute so much to the noise in the world addressing short-term and trendy topics.

How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?

Sports, my family and my friends, our regained freedom to travel and cooking.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?

“The truth about Eva” from Carel van Scheik and Kai Michel.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...

A chef in a great restaurant.