News broke this morning that Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak will be retiring early and will be replaced by Geoff Martha. The question we have is will Omar saddle Mr. Martha with a struggling diabetes unit or will he complete his destruction of the unit by selling it before he leaves? Although nothing was mentioned in the news reports, we wonder with Omar gone what will happen to his good buddy and partner in crime Hooman Hakami. Are both Bevis and Butthead headed into the sunset?
A while back we reported that a change in the diabetes unit had taken place with Hooman being shown the door. Stubbornly Hooman has hung around although reports from within the unit state that someone else is actually running the unit. Whatever the case may be one thing is certain when it comes to the diabetes unit Bevis and Butthead are not leaving it in better shape than when they took over.
Since we do not know Mr. Martha, we have no idea what if anything he will do with the diabetes unit should it still be part of the mothership when he officially takes command. Frankly Bevis and Butthead would be doing Mr. Martha a huge favor if they could somehow find a way to jettison this unit before he takes over. As based on current actions they certainly aren’t taking any major steps to fix this unit nor can they fix some the structural changes taking place in the insulin pump market.
To be honest we can’t decide whether it’s a blessing or curse that we will no longer here Bevis talk about how the stand alone CGM will become a billion-dollar franchise. This was and is pure fantasy, but it did provide some truly great copy. Hopefully Mr. Martha will have clearer vision when it comes to CGM at minimum actually listen to the people around him the same people that told Bevis there was no way in hell this crappy sensor would become a billion-dollar product.
Should Mr. Martha choose the path of least resistance and follow the tone set by his predecessor it will be protect the golden goose at all costs. As badly damaged as the unit has become, they still have the largest installed user base which excuse the expression pumps out some pretty nice dollars. The danger of course becomes what happens when the dam finally breaks, and it becomes a level playing field with payors. Given that Tandem and Insulet now have superior technology a level playing would create a mass exodus.
Frankly we would not blame Mr. Martha from doing nothing major as so much damage has been done, we’re not sure its repairable. The unit has the worst reputation with physicians, CDE’s and most importantly patients. This would be a Herculean task and unlikely to be successful. There is good reason the company is known as the Evil Empire.
What he can and should do is give the team in Northridge a much-needed peep talk. It’s not their fault the ship hit an iceberg.
So good luck Mr. Martha when it comes to your diabetes unit, you’re going to need it.