Merz held their annual Expert Summit in Munich this past November and PRIME Journal along with a small contingent of journalists were invited to attend. Usually held behind closed doors, this marks the first time Merz have opened either their international or regional events to journalists. Attendees consisting of over 400 physicians from around the world, along with 38 keynote speakers made up of leading opinion leaders and senior leadership at Merz, packed the conference hall for the two-day meeting. 

Merz Aesthetics 

Philip Burchard, CEO of Merz Group and Chairman of the Shareholder Council, began by unveiling the new company structure that will see a greater focus on the aesthetic market. He greeted Bob Rhatigan, the newly appointed CEO of Merz Aesthetics, to the stage who further reiterated how the restructure aims to improve how Merz serves and responds to its customers. 

Bob was formerly CEO of Merz Americas, where he introduced a host of changes to the company’s working structure, expanding its salesforce, and aimed for ‘a high degree of customer centricity where the customer is the centre of our universe and everything we’re doing.’ 

The changes seemed to pay-off, and revenue grew by over 20% in the Americas from 2017/18 to 2018/19, outstripping growth in other geographical markets.  

Sitting down with Bob for a one-on-one interview, he was keen to point out that despite the changes to the structure in the business, the Merz product portfolio, including BELOTERO® and RADIESSE®, will remain the core focus of the company at present. He did, however, indicate changes that would impact future products, ‘the near term priority for me is making sure we continue to strengthen our Aesthetics R&D because its a very distinct clinical and regulatory environment from the classic pharmaceutical structure.’   

Back in the early 2000s, Bob worked for Allergan as a sales and marketing executive and led the launch of Botox Cosmetics in the U.S. It is the kind of industry experience the company will need as they go head-to-head and aim to take a greater share of the market.    

Expert Summit

After Philip’s introduction, UK-based practitioner Dr Kate Goldie opened her session by announcing the Summit as the ‘hottest ticket in town’. 

Dr Goldie went on to present her talk on ‘perception drift’ and how easily a practitioner’s perspective of ‘normal’ can change from what they see continually in their practices. She stressed the importance of recognising perception drift and avoiding the unnatural results that can occur when it is left unchecked. 

Chicago-based plastic surgeon Dr Steven Dayan followed with an equally intriguing talk on bias in our view of beauty. He examined how everyone, even practitioners, has their own biases on what they deem beautiful and the importance to broaden perspectives of beauty in order to deliver the best results for a diverse patient demographic. 

Other sessions included: 

  • Neuro-Aesthetics: Discovering the Life-Changing Power of Aesthetic Medicine
  • Soft Tissue Enhancement with Filler: Consensus Recommendations
  • Skin Attractiveness: How to Achieve/Maintain?
  • Different International Strategies for Treating Female & Male Patients
  • Indications with Greatest Impact
  • Live Injections: Lower Face, Neck & Décolletage.

With their expert speakers, assured leadership and an attentive crowd, Merz looked an organisation confident taking its position as one of the leaders in the field. These meetings also allow Merz to get their message across to their customers en masse. It is a smart concept, after all, you cannot take market share without converting more practitioners to your products. Merz has found the best way to do this is through education and the ‘customer-centricity’ Bob championed at Merz Americas.