Charles A. Bancroft


Charlie Bancroft has always been good with numbers and problem solving. As the chief financial officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, he has been instrumental in reshaping its business model. The company has evolved from a large diversified company to a pure play biopharma – solely focusing on discovering, developing and delivering innovative medicines for patients. Furthering that transformation, in January 2019, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced the planned acquisition of Celgene Corporation, which could represent one of the largest acquisitions in the pharmaceutical industry.

Based on his track record of applying a strategic vision, an analytic mindset and teamwork, it’s no wonder he excelled in the MBA program at Fox. When current MBA students ask Bancroft for advice, he suggests three things:

  1. Be bold
  2. Be curious
  3. Be aware that IQ and EQ (emotional quotient) are equally important

Having grown up in a large family in Levittown, Pennsylvania, Bancroft always had to work hard to stand out in a crowd. After he received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Drexel University, he spent a few years as a public accountant for KPMG. Determined to rise to the next level, the young accountant decided to pursue his MBA. As a graduate student, Bancroft was aware of the optics, as well as the educational value, of being an MBA student. He chose the Fox School of Business based on the respect its graduates earned in the finance field. At Fox, Bancroft came away with a renewed respect for the value of collaboration in developing well-prepared verbal presentations. “I learned that communication issues are usually at the heart of many business problems,” he said. “My Fox MBA also taught me not to be afraid to express ideas or go beyond defined responsibilities.” Going beyond has helped Bancroft reach the top, as he now serves as a C-Suite executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb. During the 35 years he has been with the company, he has traveled the world, visiting almost all major countries and taking on international assignments in Australia and Canada. Within the biopharma industry, Bancroft views technology as the development that had been the most profound during his long career. “There’s a dramatic increase in the way we use data to make decisions,” he said. “The digital revolution has changed the way business decisions are made.” Bancroft also continues to believe that people ultimately make the difference in a company’s culture and success. “It is so important to have great collaborative teams, and to grow those teams by focusing on talent development; people really are a critical success factor for any company,” he said.

Temple University Degree
Master of Business Administration ’90, Fox School of Business | Concentration: Finance

Title & Company
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Head of Global Business Operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old
I really didn’t have a specific career goal in mind when I was younger. It was more an attitude of earning a living by doing something I enjoyed. Since I was good with numbers, finance/accounting seemed like a natural fit. Even then, I ascribed to the Tip O’Neill quote of taking your job seriously, but not taking yourself too seriously.

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me
Among many pieces of good advice my dad liked to give was “invest in yourself.” The importance of personal development can’t be overstated; he taught me that setting aside dedicated time where you can learn and grow both professionally and personally is critical.