Covidien's medical devices division president on reviving the company after its spinout from Tyco Healthcare and how it turned around in a down economy.
José Almeida knows what it takes to succeed. The native of Brazil, a mechanical engineer by training, put down roots in the U.S. 20 years ago and never looked back.
Since then he's worked his way up the corporate ladder at firms including Acufex Microsurgical, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Greatbatch Technologies and Tyco Healthcare. When the latter spun out into Covidien in late June, 2007, Almeida had been in his current role for a year already after spending the better part of 12 years with the company.
MassDevice spoke with Almeida about how he got his start in the medical device business, what it took to turn Covidien around after the split with Tyco and how the company continues to leverage its operational savvy while breaking new ground.
MassDevice: You hail from Brazil originally. Can you give us some insight into your background? How did you come to settle in the U.S., and what led you to the medical device field?
José Almeida: All coincidental, like life is most times. I was born in Brazil, I actually went to college in Brazil, I'm a mechanical engineer by degree. I worked for a company called at that time Anderson Consulting, which today is Accenture. I was transferred to the Boston office of Anderson Consulting, right downtown at 1 International Place, in 1990. I've been in the U.S. ever since; I'm an American citizen, married with kids here. I settled in the U.S. in 1990.
I was working for a division of Johnson & Johnson as part of a consulting agreement with Anderson, doing productivity improvement in one of their factories in New Bedford, [Mass.], and Johnson & Johnson took an interest in my professional capabilities, how I was running the project, and at the end of that assignment in 1991 they offered me that job. So this is how I got into the medical device industry.