Business Journal honors Medtronic chairman and CEO.

Minneapolis, Minn. – Feb. 26, 2016 - Vision. Leadership. Community involvement.

Those are the key attributes cited by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal in naming Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak as its 40th Executive of the Year.

Ishrak accepted the award to a standing ovation in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday night, February 25.

"I’m truly thankful and appreciative of this honor,” Ishrak said. “I hope I can live up to it.”

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George

The Business Journal credited Ishrak with transforming the vision of Medtronic, from being “just a medical device company” to a becoming a truly global healthcare enterprise, focused on developing medical technology to improve outcomes for patients while also lowering healthcare costs.  Guest speakers echoed that praise.

“He sees the whole picture,” said Shaye Mandle, President & CEO of Minnesota’s Medical Alley Association. “[Omar] is pushing Medtronic to lead in both innovation and global access to healthcare. He has become a new standard bearer for healthcare evolution.”

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George, who received Executive of the Year honors in 2002, also praised Ishrak’s vision of transforming Medtronic’s role in the future of healthcare. He called Ishrak a “powerful force” among world healthcare leaders.

“At a time when other parts of the healthcare industry are under a lot of criticism for raising prices, he’s finding ways to increase access to healthcare for people in emerging nations, and create great value while at the same time providing great breakthrough products,” George said.

Ishrak, who is well-known among Medtronic employees for “getting in his steps,” (15,000 daily, 20,000 on the weekends) took his biggest professional step in 2015, leading Medtronic’s acquisition of medical product and device maker Covidien. The acquisition not only doubled Medtronic’s size (to 85,000+ employees), but also greatly expanded the number of medical devices, products and supplies that Medtronic now provides to customers and patients. Ishrak said the new Medtronic now improves the lives of two people every second.

“Saving one life, or contributing to saving one life, that’s a big deal,” Ishrak said. “Look what it means to the families, the people and to the individual. So to be helping two patients per second, that’s 60 million people a year, we are truly grateful,” he said.

Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal Executive of the Year banquet

  Ishrak praised Medtronic founder Earl Bakken and spoke fondly of their personal meetings. “How can you not be inspired and impressed by someone like that?” he asked.  Ishrak also described Bakken’s creation of the Medtronic Mission – to alleviate pain, restore health and extend life – as both “inspirational and profound.”  A value-based healthcare vision for Medtronic’s future, Ishrak explained, is a natural extension of Bakken’s Mission.

“We are a technology company focused on changing outcomes,” Ishrak said. “Our job is not done until the value of that technology is truly realized. And that’s why value-based healthcare and all this thinking we have around it fits so clearly with Medtronic, its culture and its Mission.”

Ishrak thanked all of Medtronic’s employees, board members and business leaders for their support. And he thanked Minnesotans for embracing his family. 

Ishrak serves on the board of Minnesota Public Radio and is also a member of theMinnesota Business Partnership.

Watch Omar Ishrak's full remarks.