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New Medtronic CEO: Neutron Jack or Charming Nerd?

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The World Needs Another Earl Bakken

Before he was a Six-Sigma Savior, Jack Welch was Neutron Jack. Before Omar Ishrak becomes CEO of Medtronic, he was a disciple of Jack Welch and the GE religion. But the Star Tribune quotes industry sources as saying Mr. Ishrak is “…charismatic…and able to embrace, change or direct culture.”

When I was an employee of Medtronic, and even later when I served as a consultant, these were the very characteristics many remembered about Medtronic founder Earl Bakken. For many years Bakken’s signature caring, geeky optimism fueled the organization—long before the company was populated with neophyte Ivy-league MBAs and their outsized ambitions. Employees coming into contact with Bakken were uniformly energized by his caring, compassion and passion for healing.

In a very real sense,  Bakken was the pacemaker of the organization.

Let’s hope Mr. Ishrak can pick up Bakken’s pace and energize the talented folks at Medtronic.


Written by kirkistan

May 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

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