Eric Zwisler '80
2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
Eric Zwisler '80 has built an accomplished career in the healthcare business in China for the last 25 years. He is a well-regarded member of the industry, and a frequent commentator on national political, economic and healthcare industry trends.
Eric is currently President of Cardinal Health China. Previously he was CEO of Zuellig Pharma Asia Pacific, a Pan Asia healthcare distribution and services company with $8.5 billion turnover and 8,000 employees located in 15 Asian countries and regions. Earlier in his career, he spent 16 years establishing and building the first foreign-invested, breakthrough distribution, pharmaceutical company in China for Zuellig Pharma, which was sold in 2010 to Cardinal Health for $470 million. Following the sale, Eric returned to the company he founded in China to lead the business again for Cardinal Health.
He has negotiated, established and operated all forms of foreign investment in China, from minority share joint ventures to wholly foreign-owned enterprises, and is well-versed in acquisition and integration of Chinese State companies having acquired eleven state distribution and technology companies. Eric oversees a wide range of healthcare product and service businesses; including prescriptions, consumer healthcare, vaccines, medical devices, lab and reagent product lines, as well as service offerings for hospitals, retail pharmacies, and IT channel management solutions.
Eric has been recognized at the highest levels by the Chinese government for his contributions to business and society, including the Friendship Medal (2008), Honorary Citizen of Shanghai (2004), Shanghai Honorary Magnolia Gold medal (2003), and the Shanghai Commemorative Magnolia Silver medal (2000). In addition, Eric is chairman of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers, the international trade organization of pharmaceutical distributors that advance the safe and efficient access to pharmaceuticals worldwide.
In addition to his professional service, Eric also serves time supporting philanthropic organizations. He is a board member of the Jane Goodall Institute in Shanghai, promoting sustainable ecological concepts to the youth of China; board member of ChinaYES, teaching the importance of environmental protection to the youth of China; and board director of Shanghai Roots & Shoots, an organization which his wife Tori is also involved as a director, with programs designed to educate youth about environmental issues and humanitarian values.
Eric graduated magna cum laude from Carroll in 1980 with a B.S. degree in economics and was a member of the Delta Sigma Nu honor society. As a native of Waukesha, Carroll was a natural choice for him when deciding where to attend college. Eric’s experience at Carroll marked the beginning of his journey as an adult and helped instill the value and importance of lifelong learning. He credits Dr. Richard O'Farrell, professor emeritus of mathematics, for providing an educational foundation rooted in critical thinking that positioned him well for a future international career.
Eric holds an MBA and Master's candidate in Chinese studies from the University of Michigan, and a Chinese language certificate from the Stanford Center in Taipei. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. His advice to current students would be, “Life is full of choices, not all of them easy. Be honest with yourself. Make the best decisions you can and live with the consequences. Be resilient and keep moving forward.”
Eric and his wife Tori have lived and worked in China since 1987, and have two sons, Evan and Taylor.