April 28, 2020
Below is the message Geoff Martha sent all Medtronic employees on April 27, 2020, his first day as CEO.
I’m excited to be writing to you on my first day as CEO of Medtronic. I’m honored to be part of this amazing, diverse organization, and I want to thank Omar and the Board of Directors for having faith in me to lead Medtronic into this new era.
As you know, Omar will continue to serve as Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board at Medtronic. For the last nine years, Omar has guided us, championed and operationalized our Mission, and firmly re-established our leadership role in medical technology all around the world. I will be forever grateful for his ongoing friendship and his support.
I’m truly humbled by this opportunity. For more than 60 years, thousands of employees have come to Medtronic to fulfill our Mission ― to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. This simple and compelling Mission has guided our people to create some of the most meaningful products and therapies in the history of healthcare. To lead such an enterprise and its people is incredibly inspiring and a tremendous privilege. I’m honored to be your CEO, and I can assure you that the Mission will always be our north star.
As we embark on a new journey together, we begin in the midst of one of the most challenging times the world has ever faced, driven by the coronavirus pandemic. This has presented all of us with a multitude of challenges, on both professional and personal levels. I know it has deeply affected us all. Please know that my number one priority as I enter this job is you and your health and well-being.
In addition, you should also know that I, along with the rest of the leadership team, am focused on where we take Medtronic from here. We see a path through this pandemic, and it’ll come in phases. First, the initial impact phase that we’ve all been living through over the last few months. Second, a recovery phase, where we begin to return to more normal operations by Medtronic and our hospital customers, and where we begin to actively re-engage in our communities and with our friends. And finally, a “new normal” will emerge. Throughout, we must support customers and patients in entirely new ways. This will return Medtronic to strong growth and further our leadership position. We’ll continue to talk more about this over the coming weeks.
There are tremendous learnings for all of us from this crisis. I’m learning every day, and I’ve been continually reminded of things that remain fundamentally true for us ― things that will be central to my leadership themes and vision going forward.
The first thing that remains fundamentally true is that people rely on us for innovative, life-saving technologies. And now people are relying on us like no other time in our history. Patients rely on us for so many things ― pacemakers, heart valves, insulin pumps, ventilators, and so much more. Everything we make and everything we do works to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. We provide health, and we provide hope. People are depending on us, and we cannot let them down. We must continue to innovate and fulfill our Mission.
Throughout this pandemic, I’ve also been reminded of the great disparity of access and quality of care throughout the world. Your location in the world should not determine your level of access to quality care. As Medtronic, we can do something about this. Our Mission does not say alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life for certain people of means. Our therapies reach more than 75 million patients per year, but this is only a small fraction of the people who need our help. We can and we must make our products and therapies available in more places and to more people around the world.
I’ve also learned that we can move with speed, with clarity, and with impact when we’re in a crisis. The walls of our organizational structures come down, the sense of urgency goes up, and our collaborative spirit takes over to solve problems for our customers.
We have responded to the pandemic in an unprecedented way. We've completely changed the computer code of a ventilator. In response to increased regulator flexibility during the public emergency, we've learned to remotely monitor and program ventilators and other products from miles away. We've trained thousands of physicians without being in the same room. And, we've done all of this and reshaped the way we do business in a matter of days and weeks, versus months and years.
The results of these efforts have been so profound ― we've saved thousands of lives and we've elevated our stature and respect with physicians and hospitals all around the world.
So, as we move forward, I’ll be asking you to bring that same passion and speed to our work every day. And, I’m challenging myself and our leadership to enable this. We live in a fast-changing, connected, and competitive world. Our customers and our competitors are fully aware of our history and past success, but tradition alone is not enough to sustain us. We are not entitled to market leadership ― we must earn it every day.
We must continue to out innovate others. We must be easy to work with, and we need to intimately know and meet our customers' needs. The speed of change requires us to be nimble, fast, and action-oriented, and we need to re-evaluate any aspect of our culture or organization that inhibits our ability to act in this way.
And finally, I’m learning, yet again, how great our people are. This is a company of people ― innovative, passionate, and smart people. I know we can out innovate our peers and solve the problems of healthcare because I know we have the best people in the world. And I will ensure we have a workplace that allows you to meet your personal goals and aspirations.
Diversifying our company will also play a large part in creating the workplace of innovation and ingenuity we need going forward. We must bring the best minds into Medtronic ― no matter your color, your gender, your religion, or your orientation. Inclusion and diversity will be a critical factor in our future success, and I intend to take us to the next level of representation in all areas and levels of our organization.
I’m excited about being your CEO and energized by what the future holds. I promise you that I will always put Medtronic first. I will always have the Mission as my compass and my true north.
That doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes ― I have a lot to learn, and will ask for your help along the way. If you don’t agree with me on something, please trust that my intentions are good and are grounded in the Mission.
I’m reminded that our co-founder Earl Bakken wrote the Medtronic Mission at a time of crisis and uncertainty. This is a reminder for all of us that great things can come from adversity. Medtronic has faced challenges and crises before, and we’ve always come out stronger. And we’ll do it again.
Let me close by thanking you. You’ve done everything we’ve asked and so much more during this pandemic. You’ve balanced a heavy load of caring for your families, your communities, our customers, and Medtronic. I’m truly grateful for all that you’re doing, and I’m truly honored to be your CEO.
I wish you and your families good health, and I look forward to our days ahead together.
Chief Executive Officer