January 21, 2003
Guidant President and CEO Speaks to Anderson School MBA StudentsLOS ANGELES — At the invitation of The Anderson School at UCLA's High Tech Business Association, Ronald W. Dollens, president and chief executive officer, Guidant Technologies, was invited to speak to Anderson's MBA students. Guidant (NYSE: GDT) is the world leader in the design and development of cardiovascular medical products that helps patients lead healthy, active lives.
Dollens spoke to the MBA students about careers in technology and the elements of management principles and leadership skills that have contributed to the success of Guidant. He described three important elements that define a successful company:
- Effective product development process
- Presence in the marketplace
- Managing the company's cost structure
"The key to our success is we're going to be able to attract the intellectual capital that is going to lead the company, five, ten years from now," said Dollens. As a model for hiring successful employees, Dollens described a "genetic code," which he feels are the characteristics of an ideal employee and are often difficult to find in one person. The "genetic code" includes absolute honesty and integrity, a results-oriented focus, a competitive nature, a team player mentality and flexibility.
These types of characteristics embody Guidant's employee workforce and have led Guidant to a 21 percent return on sales (gross margin), over the past year. Additionally, more than 60 percent of the products Guidant sells are less than 12 months old, which presents a difficult challenge for any manufacturing company. Between 13-14 percent of revenues are invested in research and development, which is one of the highest percentages in any industry.
Dollens also gave the students a unique aspect of his leadership style with a breakdown of his time management as CEO of Guidant. The company's number one strategic issue is influencing the health policy of the United States. Dollens spends approximately 20-30 percent of his personal time in Washington, D.C., where he works closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. He spends another 40 percent dealing with shareholder issues, and the remainder of his time is spent on operational and business development issues.
After his talk, approximately 20 Anderson School MBA students were invited to participate in a special dinner to speak candidly with Dollens in a more informal environment. Bob Foster, adjunct associate professor of decisions, operations and technology management at Anderson, joined the students.
"This was a unique experience for the students to personally interact with one of the leaders of the medical instrumentation industry," said Foster. "Guidant's rapid growth and strong profitability speaks volumes about the corporate culture that exists at Guidant. Our students were truly impressed with his personal leadership style and ability to clearly articulate Guidant's mission and direction."
The High-Tech Business Association is one of Anderson's largest student organizations whose purpose is to provide students with a forum for opportunities for research, internships and career employment opportunities in high-tech areas such as multimedia, information services and telecommunications. Students develop relationships with top industry leaders in the high tech field through speaker events, conferences and a "brown bag" series.
Prior to his position at Guidant, Dollens served as president of Eli Lilly and Company's Medical Devices and Diagnostics Division. In 1988, he became president and CEO of Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (ACS), a MDD company headquartered in Santa Clara, California.
Recently named one of FORTUNE'S 100 best companies to work for (the fourth time in five years), Guidant has employed several Anderson School graduates and is a major recruiter for the Anderson School.
About Guidant Corporation
Guidant Corporation pioneers lifesaving technology, giving an opportunity for better life today to millions of cardiac and vascular patients worldwide. The company, driven by a strong entrepreneurial culture of more than 10,000 employees, develops, manufactures and markets a broad array of products and services that enable less-invasive care for some of life's most threatening medical conditions. For more information visit http://www.guidant.com.
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