Advancement council

Rodney Cotton

Board Member, Advisor,
C-Suite Executive – Orchard, Roche, Community Health
Carmel, Ind.

Rod Cotton, an entrepreneurial senior leader in the pharmaceutical industry, is known for his holistic perspective, bias for action in the face of challenges, and commitment to agile processes. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his team accelerated six ground-breaking products in 11 months, including the first launch of the market’s most accurate and in-demand molecular diagnostic test.  

A key influencer across all levels of the organization, Cotton is senior vice president, head of strategy & transformation and chief of staff to the CEO for Roche Diagnostics, the North American headquarters of the world’s largest ($14 billion) diagnostics company. With more than 35 of years of health care experience, he has driven the financial turnaround and cultural transformation of four global health care companies, led teams of up to 280 total reports, managed P&L of more than $1 billion, and served as a key member of the senior leadership team executing the most significant restructuring of the company in two decades.  

Cotton has solved extraordinary challenges of product scarcity, supply chain, product allocation, and logistics to achieve accelerated global sourcing and self-manufacturing in line with testing guidelines. He has collaborated with prominent C-suite and lab leaders of the largest IHN’s, reference laboratories, and government officials, including U.S. congressional leaders, governors, mayors, and state COVID-19 taskforces, in 23 states.  

As a member of the Board of Directors of The United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), Cotton has led key initiatives to raise the stature of the organization, including its board of more than 90 members, over 300 committee members, and its C-suite. His leadership has strengthened UWCI’s governance, crisis leadership, and infrastructure; and has supported growth of its endowment from $55 million to $121 million in 2020. He served as an influential panel member in the interviewing, vetting, selection, and integration of UWCI’s new president, CEO, and board member from more than 10 potential candidates. A director since 2009, Cotton has also served on the executive, governance, D&I, strategic affairs, capital campaign, fundraising, and other committees.  

Cotton holds an M.B.A., an M.S. in strategic management, and a B.A. in biological sciences & technology. Prior to Roche, he held sales and product management roles at Baxter International and other firms. A frequent public speaker on diversity, he was an early (and the first male) member of the Roche Women Leader Initiative and is an executive sponsor for Roche’s Asian, Black, and Latino affinity groups and a supporter of its LGBTQ group. A native of California, he currently lives in Carmel, Indiana.