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October 1, 2020

Former Guidant CEO Ron Dollens Named 2020 AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

WASHINGTON, DC. – The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) today announced that former Guidant CEO Ronald “Ron” W. Dollens will receive the 2020 AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award at the industry’s premier annual gathering – The Virtual MedTech Conference – during a livestream session Oct. 6 at 2:30 pm ET. 

From humble beginnings, Dollens rose to become CEO of a legendary medical technology company – Guidant – which pioneered the development of cutting-edge cardiac devices such as the internal defibrillator, the multi-link stent, and catheters used to treat coronary artery disease. These advancements revolutionized patient care, saving lives and improving quality of life for millions around the world.

Dollens began his career at Guidant parent company Eli Lilly while still in college, with a summer job shoveling coal. After college he landed a job as a sales rep for the company in 1972 and rose through the ranks. In 1987, he became CEO for Lilly’s  Advanced Cardiovascular Systems subsidiary, known for its angioplasty technologies, and shortly thereafter, he was named President and CEO of the company’s Medical Devices and Diagnostics Division, where he was responsible for business development and technology acquisitions. When Lilly’s medical device and diagnostics division businesses were spun off to form Guidant in 1994, Dollens became CEO of the new company.

“The American Dream says work hard and you can achieve it, regardless of where you start, and Ron Dollens embodies that ideal,” said Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of AdvaMed. “He started out shoveling coal, moved his way up, and found himself CEO of a medtech company that provided innovations that saved and improved countless lives. But Ron didn’t climb the corporate ladder for the sake of climbing. He did it so he could be in the best possible spot to help others. And that is what the AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award is all about.”

Dollens gained praise for Guidant’s rapid success,  growing sales from $862 Million to 1.9 billion in just four years. But his greatest legacy might be his commitment to inclusion and diversity  through his mentoring of the next generation of executives, many of whom would move on to leadership roles in medical technology companies across the world.

“Ron ran Guidant as a meritocracy, and he had a keen focus on empowering individuals to reach their highest potential,” said Dollens’ former Guidant colleague Lisa Earnhardt, executive vice president, Medical Devices, Abbott. “He was also a real leader in creating an environment that encouraged and supported diversity of thought, styles, gender, and ethnicity.”

Following the presentation of the AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award, The Virtual MedTech Conference will livestream the panel session: A Lifetime of Achievement – A Deeper Dive into the Career of 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Ron Dollens. Moderated by IQVIA MedTech Senior Director Larry Ferrere, the panel will feature medtech industry leaders discussing the legacy of Dollens’ career including: Maria Sainz, president and CEO, AEGEA Medical; Avanos CEO Joe Woody; and John Capek, Executive Vice President, Abbott Ventures.

AdvaMed’s Lifetime Achievement Award honors the accomplishments of pioneers in the medical technology sector whose contributions have had a significant impact on patients’ lives and the industry as an essential part of America’s economy.  

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AdvaMed member companies produce the medical devices, diagnostic products and health information systems that are transforming health care through earlier disease detection, less invasive procedures and more effective treatments. AdvaMed members range from the largest to the smallest medical technology innovators and companies. For more information, visit www.advamed.org.