Kinetic Concepts Inc.: New Blood

Medical technology firm grafts new executive leadership onto globally expanding manufacturing business.

The past year has been a busy one for the human resources department at San Antonio-based Kinetic Concepts Inc. (KCI). The medical device maker has seen three new hires in key positions come in succession in 2006-07, and is banking on this new blood to maintain the high marks in profitability (near 26% return on assets and triple-digit return on equity) that made it an IW 50 Best Manufacturer for 2007.

As a medical technology company that primarily manufactures hospital beds, KCI is in a (baby) booming industry. However, the company also specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and servicing of advanced vacuum-based wound-care products.

Although KCI's products help patients deal with immobility issues, the company itself is on the move. KCI has built a strong global sales and service infrastructure for customers that includes acute and long-term care facilities, home health agencies, wound-care clinics, and individuals in the United States and abroad, and has a strong R&D team producing patents and products to keep revenue flowing in.

However, with the retirement of CEO Denny Ware late last year, the company lost a steady hand that had presided over six years of successful operations.

For instance, during his tenure Ware guided the company past the $1 billion revenue mark by strengthening company investment in training its sales force and fostering key relationships with hospitals, physicians, nurses and third-party payers. Ware also focused on product and service development by focusing resources on KCI's clinical research teams, as well as by promoting a new competency in home-care billing and claims processing.

To fill the leadership vacuum left in Ware's wake, the team at KCI reached over the fence into the medical technology sphere, tapping Catherine Burzik, Applied Biosystems president, as a replacement.

Alongside experience leading a cutting-edge medical research firm, Burzik's resume includes stints at Eastman Kodak and Johnson & Johnson, giving her a healthy balance of new- and old-school manufacturing credentials that has helped heal the gap caused by Ware's departure.

And just as she did at her former company, Burzik has overseen the development of a new executive management team at KCI by filling two C-level roles crucial to the medical equipment maker's future prospects.

Kinetic Concepts, Inc.
At A Glance

Kinetic Concepts, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas
Primary Industry: Medical Instruments and Equipment
Number of Employees: 6,300
2006 In Review
Revenue: $1.37 billion
Profit Margin: 14.25%
Sales Turnover: 1.63
Inventory Turnover: 20.23
Revenue Growth: 13.49%
Return On Assets: 25.65%
Return On Equity: 102.09%

This July, the company announced the appointment of David Ramsey to the position of chief information officer. Ramsey's previous experience as CIO at PSSI World Medical Inc., a distributor of medical products and equipment to alternate-site health-care providers, should help KCI with reducing cost improving profitability at its own alternate-site health-care product business. Also, his experience as a global CIO should assist KCI integrate its expanding manufacturing sites, such as its newest Irish facility, into its distribution network without too much trauma.

Finally, in May the company announced the appointment of Dan Ciaburri to the position of chief medical officer. With a medical degree from University of Connecticut and an MBA from Columbia University, Ciaburri is a business-savvy doctor best known for building two national "top 100" cardiac surgery programs.

"Key among [Ciaburri's] new responsibilities will be the leadership of our clinical development and medical affairs functions, as well as acting as liaison with key opinion leaders, medical societies and advocacy groups," commented Burzik in a statement at the time. "This strategic hire will serve to strengthen our relationship with our broad base of physician-prescribers.


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