BD CEO Tom Polen discusses character revealed by COVID-19 crisis
“We couldn’t be more proud of how the team really showed our values,” BD CEO Tom Polen said during a keynote at DeviceTalks Boston.
Tom Polen’s original “master plan” included medical school. While preparing for the MCAT out of undergrad, he instead joined a small startup based in California.
The startup grew and BD (NYSE:BDX) ultimately bought it. That was about 23 years ago.
Polen is now chair, president and CEO of the medtech giant, having assumed the role in early 2020.
In the last three years, BD has acquired 19 companies — much like his startup many years before.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to stand in front of those teams when we bring them in as part of our family and say, ‘I came to BD the same way that all of you came to BD,'” Polen said. “I remember exactly the way that that first day felt.”
Speaking in a keynote address at DeviceTalks Boston today, Polen outlined his career path and his tenure at BD. Polen led BD through the COVID-19 pandemic, steered the company through a strategy fueled by tuck-in M&A, and is now pushing toward areas like smart connected care.
“It’s always been my goal to just make the biggest impact in healthcare and biggest impact on the company that I can,” Polen said.
Taking over at BD just before COVID-19
Polen recalls being approached by people apologizing that he took over the corner office at BD within two months of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting.
Tom Polen [Right] speaks at DeviceTalks Boston.He said he always had a different view.
“What an unbelievable time to become CEO at one of the world’s largest, most impactful medical technology companies in a pandemic, where our purpose gets to be fulfilled more so than ever before,” Polen said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our organization and how we did that.”
When the pandemic hit, Polen said he set three goals for BD…