Philips finds new head of recall-laden connected care segment in Pear Therapeutics exec

As Philips prepares to enter the third year of its recall of 5.5 million CPAP and BiPAP machines and other respiratory devices, the Dutch devicemaker has appointed a new leader for its beleaguered connected care division.

Julia Strandberg will step into the role on April 24, Philips announced this week. She’ll be tasked with leading the company’s patient monitoring, enterprise informatics and sleep and respiratory care businesses, the last of which is known as Respironics and is the home of the ongoing recall.

Strandberg is filling the vacancy left by Roy Jakobs, who was appointed CEO of Philips last fall after spending the preceding year and a half leading the company’s response to the respiratory device recall. He was replaced in the interim by Dan Leonard, global head of finance within the connected care segment.

As chief business leader of the connected care businesses, Strandberg will report directly to Jakobs and will also join Philips’ executive committee.

“Julia brings deep, multidisciplinary expertise, including in informatics and monitoring, to Philips,” Jakobs said in the announcement. “Passionate about improving the healthcare experience for patients and providers across care settings, Julia understands how to deliver in the global healthcare ecosystem and adds extensive experience in developing and commercializing medical technologies.”

Strandberg is joining Philips after a career spanning more than two decades in medtech and beyond. Her career started at 3M, where she spent a decade working her way up through the manufacturing giant’s optical systems and track-and-trace solutions divisions.

Strandberg then moved to Covidien, logging nearly seven years in its patient monitoring business, culminating in a stint as a company VP and general manager of remote patient monitoring. When Covidien was acquired by Medtronic in 2015, she made the move, too, spending four years as a VP and general manager of health informatics and monitoring for the medtech giant.

Most recently, following a brief interlude as president of a healthcare business consulting firm in 2019, Strandberg spent almost four years as chief commercial officer of digital therapeutics developer Pear Therapeutics.

The new hire in the C-suite comes as Philips is slimming down its workforce elsewhere.

Early on in Jakobs’ tenure last fall, he laid out a restructuring plan for the company that would cut 4,000 jobs around the world. That and other cost-saving attempts were made as Philips reported a loss of 1.5 billion euros for the third quarter of 2022—well down from the 358 million euros in income it had reported a year earlier—stemming largely from the 1.3 billion euro goodwill impairment charge that came from worse-than-expected finances within the Respironics business.

As the financial challenges only continued to mount, Philips kicked off 2023 with the announcement that another 6,000 jobs were on the line, with half of the layoffs set to occur this year and the remaining half staggered through 2025. At the time, Jakobs called the cuts “difficult but necessary.”

All together, the planned layoffs amount to almost 13% of workers at Philips, which counted 77,233 employees in its 2022 annual report.