|Mark Hollmer||Damian Garde|
On FierceMedicalDevices' list of 2012's 10 highest-paid med tech CEOs, half are serving in their first full year on the job or are new in the position as of this year.
Franz van Houten took over at Philips ($PHG) in April 2011; Kevin Lobo became president and CEO at Stryker ($SYK) last October; Michael Mahoney spent much of 2012 as president of Boston Scientific ($BSX) and assumed the CEO slot only in November; Omar Ishrak became CEO of Medtronic ($MDT) in June 2011; and Alex Gorsky assumed the top slot at Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) this past April.
Some of the new CEOs began to lead their respective companies during tumultuous times, weighted with hefty expectations. Mahoney, for example, is tasked with continuing Boston Scientific's aggressive attempts to diversify, reduce debt, expand in emerging markets and reverse declining sales in some of its divisions. Gorsky at J&J faces plenty of bad press and enormous financial risk for the company, in part from thousands of lawsuits over recalled all-metal hips and increased safety worries (and lawsuits) concerning its vaginal mesh products. Frans van Houten at Philips can point to the company's healthcare unit as performing well, but other divisions aren't passing muster.
And all of the new CEOs may envy Ishrak over at Medtronic. Lured there from running GE Healthcare, Ishrak has aggressively moved to expand in emerging markets through M&A and organic growth, and the company's revenue grew, no small feat in a global market that continues to struggle in the wake of the financial crisis from a few years back.
Each CEO on our list faced some common challenges in 2012 as well. They dealt with the arrival of the now infamous 2.3% device tax in the U.S. and had to come up with ways to absorb the extra costs it creates. Some resorted to layoffs or pared down expansion plans; others acknowledged the tax's arrival and quietly moved on. Reimbursement issues and approval delays continued to be a point of concern in the U.S., and a move to toughen device regulations in Europe gave these top CEOs (and others) another crisis spot on which to focus.