Diverse executive teams bring more innovation to medtech
Diversifying the executive suite is more than just a push for representation — it helps bring more diverse ideas to the table to innovate for more than half of the global population.
The leadership gap in the medical device industry closes slightly every year, but women still account for less than a quarter of executive roles, according to our annual analysis in this Women in Medtech edition of Medical Design & Outsourcing.
Women hold just 23% of executive roles at the top 100 medical device companies, up 2 percentage points since 2021. After Accuray and Ambu appointed females to their top offices, the number of women CEOs has ticked up to six despite some recent leadership changes.
For comparison, women make up 38.8% of the more than 644,000 medical equipment and supplies manufacturing employees in the U.S. The pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry is slightly better, with women as 46.4% of the sector’s 654,000 employees.
While 2020 was the year that changed the world, it was seemingly a formative year for women in leadership roles. As of this analysis, the average time for women in the executive office is 2.95 years.
On the cover of this edition is Zimmer Biomet Chief Strategy Officer Rachel Ellingson, who gives us an inside look into the orthopedic company’s plans for digital technology in its products and its introduction into surgical robotics.
For this Women in Medtech issue, Associate Editor Sean Whooley spoke with one of the longest-serving women leaders in the industry, Medline President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs Lara Simmons. She joined Medline in 1992 and has worked her way up to her current position overseeing the regulatory aspects of the multibillion-dollar medical equipment manufacturer.
Whooley also interviews Abbott Divisional VP of Global Clinical Affairs Jennifer Jones-McMeans about gender biases for cardiovascular patients.
Also in this edition, Managing Editor Jim Hammerand tells Laura Mauri’s story of a key moment in the Medtronic chief scientific, medical and regulatory officer’s first months at the company.
And Pharma Editor Brian Buntz spoke with women in the pharmaceutical industry to get their insights into barriers facing women in the industry and ways to break through them.
We’ve also included a list of all 218 top women executives within the largest 100 medical device companies in the world and highlighted the many personnel changes over the past year.
This edition of Women in Medtech also takes a look at the technologies and innovations from private companies and startups that are led by women, Women in Medtech’s founding value. Bluegrass Vascular Technologies is developing an inside-out vascular access system that simplifies catheter placement, Actuated Medical is bringing motion to medicine, and Cala Health is using wearables to treat essential tremor.
The major lesson learned this year through interviews and conversations with women in the industry is that diversity is a necessity if companies want to innovate. A diverse team of decision-makers enables a company to create devices that are designed specifically for more than half of the global patient population. While the prevalence of women in leadership roles is slightly higher since I started this project in 2018, it won’t be enough until the C-suite represents the patients it serves.
Find all this and many more insights from women leaders in our latest edition of Medical Design & Outsourcing.
– Danielle Kirsh, Senior Editor