RWS Hires Lionbridge Veteran Sheena Dempsey to Lead Life Science Unit

A little less than a year after its November 2015 acquisition of life science specialist Corporate Translations Inc. (CTi), UK-headquartered RWS has recruited Sheena Dempsey as CEO for CTi. Dempsey’s official start date was in late August 2016.

Slator reached out to Dempsey, who said she has been actively transitioning over a three-week period with Mary and Ted Gawlicki, CTi’s previous owners. The Gawlickis will retire on September 9 and move on to run a family foundation they have just established, according to Dempsey.

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Dempsey joins RWS from Lionbridge, where she had worked in various leadership positions for over two decades. In her latest role, Dempsey managed Lionbridge’s global life sciences business unit, which posted strong growth under her leadership and closed a few large new accounts such as the much publicized win with pharma giant GSK.

Sheena Dempsey

Sheena Dempsey

RWS will be keen to ensure CTi remains the highly profitable organization for which it paid USD 70m. As announced before, RWS is folding its existing life sciences business Pharmaquest and its Medical Translation Division into CTi, and run the combined unit under the CTi brand.

Prior to accepting the position, Dempsey said she “had lengthy discussions with RWS board members,” which gave her “good insights into the company strategy and corporate culture overall.”

She added that after 21 years at Lionbridge, her next career move had to be carefully thought through.

Dempsey reports to the RWS Board of Directors at UK Headquarters. She said it is too early to disclose her own leadership team at CTi as she will be “doing some organizational redesign in the coming weeks.”

Hiring Dempsey, a longtime leader at a key competitor, is an important part of RWS’ strategy to compete with the likes of TransPerfect, Lionbridge, or Welocalize’s GLS in the fast growing but complex life sciences market.

Image: Skyline of Hartford, Connecticut, CTi headquarters

Florian Faes

Co-Founder of Slator. Linguist, business developer, and mountain runner. Based in the Shire, aka Zurich, Switzerland.