The economy is just an excuse, says Allergan CEO David Pyott | MassDevice Big 100 Roundtable West

December 12, 2012 by MassDevice staff

"Innovation will always beat the economy, " Allergan chairman, president & CEO David Pyott tells attendees of MassDevice's 2012 Big 100 Roundtable West in Newport Beach, Calif.

Allergan CEO David Pyott

One of the most important things Allergan chairman, president & CEO David Pyott learned in business school was to cast a wary eye on business leaders who blame economic downturns for business declines.

Before last night's audience of medical device industry players from around the country, Pyott explained why he believes that most companies should be able to overcome economic headwinds with innovative thinking.

"When management talks about the economy, it's actually an excuse," Pyott told publisher Brian Johnson at last night's MassDevice Big 100 Roundtable West event in Newport Beach, Calif. "How often, when things are going really well in the economy, do managers say 'My sales are up 20% - because of the economy'?"

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Economic swings may play more of a role in companies the size of GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE), Pyott admitted, but for mid-size companies, such as Allergan, it's becomes something of a crutch.

As the key guest at the Big 100 event, Pyott spoke on-stage about his nearly 15 years at Allergan, during which time he grew the company from an eye-care firm to a $5 billion global concern spanning medical devices as well as pharmaceuticals.

He discussed his company's decision to move away from its Lap-Band business, laughed about what drives him as a veteran executive in the medtech field and lamented qualities of the U.S. insurance arena that makes it difficult to penetrate the market with important new products, but he made 1 thing particularly clear: there's always room for innovation.