M&A, chief executive changes, & emerging market growth helped shape the 2017 fiscal performances of the industry’s top firms.

In many ways, 2017 was a year like any other for the medical device elites. Megamergers maintained their annual tradition—last year saw two with Becton Dickinson’s $24 billion deal for C.R. Bard, and Essilor’s 46 billion euro combination with Luxottica. Abbott Labs also reaped the benefits of its union with St. Jude Medical, which closed at the beginning of last year and moved the company four spaces forward in the Top 30 list. The impetus to capture lucrative emerging markets also continued. A number of companies accomplished double-digit growth in these competitive regions last year, with many making impressive gains in the Chinese market.

However, 2017 saw a remarkable amount of leadership shuffling. GE’s Jeff Immelt, who had led the company for 16 years, handed the reins to former GE Healthcare CEO John Flannery in June. David Dvorak also retired last June after a 10-year tenure as head of Zimmer Biomet, relinquishing the throne to former Medtronic executive Bryan Hanson. Both Joe Jimenez of Novartis and Sonova Holding’s Lukas Braunschweiler passed the buck last September, after eight years and six years at their respective helms. Dentsply Sirona CEO Jeffrey Solovin retired last fall as part of a management shakeup that resulted in the departure of five top leaders. Olivier Bohuon announced his retirement last October after seven years of ruling Smith & Nephew. Fueling more rumors about the company’s future acquisition, Namal Nawana—the former Alere CEO who negotiated its sale to Abbott—was tapped to replace him. Finally, George Barrett stepped down last November after eight years of captaining Cardinal Health.

2017 turned out to be a sweet year for both patients and the diabetes market: The FDA approved Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop system, the first technology for Type 1 diabetics to automatically deliver the correct dosage of insulin to the user without requiring intervention. Abbott Labs also garnered an FDA nod for its FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System, the first not to require fingerstick blood glucose testing, even for calibration. J&J, however, must have found the market sour, ceasing its North American Animas insulin pump business last year and absolving itself of two more diabetes businesses this year.

By S. Fenske, M. Barbella, and S. Brusco | Medical Product Outsourcing

Image Credit: iStock

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