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Keynote: A Conversation with Siemens Healthineers CEO Bernd Montag | LSI Europe '22


Bernd Montag

Bernd Montag

CEO, Siemens Healthineers
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Scott Pantel

Scott Pantel

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A keynote fireside chat with one of our industry's most inspiring leaders to discuss technology, people, and breakthroughs in healthcare.


Scott Pantel  0:04  

Thank you, Nadine. That's a true story. Actually, we met on the lawn and Dana Point and started the conversation. And here we are today, it's a real pleasure to kick the meeting off. I want to welcome everybody for those that were here last night. Welcome back. For those that are just getting here today. Welcome. It's a pleasure to have on stage with me burn montage, CEO of Siemens Healthineers. When we prepared this meeting, we wanted to kick kick this session off, we have a couple of days full of innovation, as Nadine has pointed out, investments strategics. But we really wanted to kick the session off with a talk of hope and inspiration. And I thought of one of the CEOs that is really built a culture of innovation at one of the major strategic so please, let's give Bernie a warm welcome and a round of applause. So I'm gonna pull my notes out here just in case. I do it too. Yes. Nadine did a great job of capturing why we're here. But just to just to point something out that I thought was interesting from last night, we had Antoine Papert from sofinnova on stage. And we were debating about how many what the assets under management management were, and was quoted 6 billion, and then he corrected it 2.5 billion. So last night, in my room, I was going through the sheets, and I looked at the 100 Presenting companies that we have here. And it turns out that these 100 Presenting companies in aggregate are raising about 2.5 billion. So if sofinnova wants to come in and take care of all of them, I think we have a really nice fun that's been created here. So if you see Antoine, you can come back to him and let him know that we have a solution to his problem. So we're here to innovate over the course of the next two days, we're here to inspire. We're here, as Nadine points out, to advance healthcare. So I thought we would I'd like to give a quick background on Siemens, we all know Siemens Healthineers. And then I'd like to ask Byrne, how he ended up here. So just a quick summary. In 2018, Siemens Healthineers was spun out of Siemens. So they're young, but old, maybe we'll talk about that a little bit. Okay, $50 billion market cap. They're the 11th largest German company on the German Stock Exchange, one rung below bear and just above BMW. Byrne has been with them and led them through the Varian acquisition, a very interesting Korean this acquisition and has taken his large organization successfully through COVID. So before we get back to Siemens, and the technology and the innovation burned, how did you get here?


Bernd Montag  2:55  

By invitation. Getting into into Maytag was some more love at first sight, calm and not, not an arranged marriage. So it happened. But I really fell in love with it when I after I graduated from from university as a theoretical physicist damages. Sounds very smart, but it's very useless. Yeah. And, and being part of this world of this communication between the heart about the necessity of innovation, yeah. So the necessity of innovation in which is, which comes from the communication of physicians, with tech, with people focused around technology, and this diff, two different worlds coming together. I think this is an absolutely fascinating field. And I'm very happy that I could build my professional life in this field.


Scott Pantel  4:00  

Thank you. And you have an interesting background before the professional life, I think many of you may know that you were a professional athlete, and maybe down the road in the conversation can talk about how some of the learnings from being an athlete has correlated over into your life as a leader here. Okay. We had an interesting chat last night, a brief but interesting chat and you had described for me what I think would be interesting to frame up this conversation here, but you talked about sort of three categories of companies and where you see Siemens fitting in maybe you could share how you how you view those, those that structure.


Bernd Montag  4:42  

Yeah, and this is a bit of a topic we I also am happy to receive help how to best call the categories and that I have this picture, basically since the IPO when when we needed to really explain who we are and and In bear, they are basically a company without real peers. Yeah. So and in the three buckets, I would say, you know, when it comes to who are the companies making healthcare providers, helping healthcare providers supplying to healthcare providers Pharma. It's mid tech in the, in the device sense. Like, I mean, when you look at big companies like Medtronic, or Boston Scientific or so, and then there's us, and what is the big difference? I think that when it comes to a stent, a pacemaker and so on, you know, it may take in that sense, it is more similar from a business point of business model point of view to Pharma. It's, but it's metal, so to say or technology, but the model is you want to have that thing. In one patient, you know, and you work through the healthcare system to be successful, you have to make sure that this one procedure is done in a patient. What we do with our capabilities here with diagnose diagnostics, imaging, interventional birthplaces, radiation therapy, and so on, if making and digitalization and AI is making the healthcare system in total, more intelligent, more efficient, and from the investment in this smart infrastructure, then many many patients benefit. It makes possible the right diagnosis, which then makes the the delivery of the right drug possible, it helps guiding the the intervention which puts in this device, you know, and it helps to find out whether a drug has really worked and so on. So, this third bucket is the bucket we are in. Yeah, I don't know what what is the super good name for it here. But I know only that in this third packet, we are the biggest company. And that it's it's very it's great for us to be so much in the middle of things. Yeah, because we see what all the innovations coming from the device companies in coming from the pharma industry, because in the end, they all cross our, our systems in a way.


Scott Pantel  7:28  

And reflecting back we obviously the Varian acquisition was a major, major milestone in the industry, the Korean this acquisition, I think was something that was raised interest. And then there's a couple other acquisitions you've done in sort of the digital space. Can you tell us a little bit about what we may see down the road or the strategy behind those two acquisitions, those acquisitions. So


Bernd Montag  7:54  

I hope I don't sound too nerdy. When I paint a picture of let's say, the hypothesis of what Siemens Healthineers is built on, but may also be icy medicine going? Men, it also comes to the very important aspect of how do we scale medicine and make it independent from just the availability of a super smart physician. I paint a triangle of something called Patient winning precision therapy and digital and AI and what I mean by this with patient twinning, average is a bit of a provoking tournaments, like we try to create a digital copy of the individual patient. Meaning with with imaging with lab diagnostics, you basically have a model in the long run, where you from which you can make the right diagnosis, selected the therapy potentially Sim can seep simulate the therapy, but then can also help perform the therapy. It's like you do a Google maps of the patient. There's one corner. The second corner is the precision therapy, which is like the pencil beam of Olynyk here, or the endovascular robot here, which is using the information of the twin so to say to guide the super precise treatments and here the broad innovates for us, yeah, also the device industry, the pharma industry and so on, to guide these treatments at the right place in position. And then a third corner is digitalization in AI which augments the two others here but also makes this super vital connection. And that's basically the story also behind the variant and Windows acquisition. It's like how do you connect? imaging the mapping with the delivery of therapy and make bow We'll better with this combination.


Scott Pantel  10:04  

Very good. One of the big themes that we'll see in this meeting are a lot of the subjects you're talking about digital AI data, etc. How far away are we from? How far away are we? How much work do we have to do? This vision that you've laid out how close are we see,


Bernd Montag  10:28  

I like this word the future is already there, it is just an evenly distributed, yeah. Because in many cases, it is a lot of it is there and we have today when you when you look at, for example, treatment planning, we have an AI algorithm for for the super important aspect of sparing healthy tissue, yeah, in in, in radiation therapy value, we are having a, an AI algorithm, which automatically segments all the organs here. And then make sure that the the mission critical organs can be can be can be spared in the radiation therapy treatment. And that it's not that you don't need a physician who was trained for decades to do something here and steal half an hour of his or her time to draw the contours of an Oregon. And so I think we are very in many, many topics. This is already this is this is happening. And now we need to work our our way up here. But it's always I think, a crawl, walk run approach and not this big. I'm tempted to say IBM Watson type of dream to solve everything in one in one go.


Scott Pantel  12:07  

Okay, so let's get specific. And I brought this question up last night, and I sent you may surprise me maybe not? What's the what's the biggest in your mind? The number one challenge that we have in healthcare? What's the one thing if you were to pick that Siemens is going after now?


Bernd Montag  12:25  

So I'm cheating now. Three number one things?


Scott Pantel  12:29  

It's okay. We'll work through it.


Bernd Montag  12:33  

So that I think they all are super important. I can I mean, in the end, I can make the excuse, you know, they are connected? They're all one, you know, I think one topic is, is is staff shortage. behalf. And VB have more than more patients less and less qualified. And stuff. And we need to look at it as I mean, again, necessity is the mother of innovation. This is a super big source of innovation. How can we deliver better medicine without having to rely on more people? And there's also the discussion, the public discussion, I think, and when it comes to the future of the NHS in this country? So this is one topic. Second topic, there are 3 billion people worldwide who don't have access to health care in this in the form in SBR. privileged to have it again, what does it mean when it when meant talking about innovation? We should never let something super important in Siemens Healthineers. Also that innovation has always two direction one is make possible what hasn't been possible before you push the boundary. But the other direction is how do you democratize what you have done already? Yeah. How do you make it more accessible, easier to implement, lower the cost of adoption and so on and so on? Yeah, so this is a big, big, big topic also. And the third topic, so I'm cheating as it is the pandemic of cancer. I think what we learned in COVID is, I mean, COVID is a horrible disease. But what we tend to forget is that every year two times more people die of cancer. Compared to what happened in COVID. Yeah, I mean, it's, it's a bit cynical to compare but it's a pandemic we got used to that and which is so far here to stay here. So what do we do about this in for Siemens Healthineers. It means how can we apply the triangle In, which I talked about, to this very complicated disease. So that that sort of pick one.


Let's, let's stick with the last one for a moment. One of the stated objectives of this meeting, obviously, we have, we have all the pieces here at this meeting, we have the innovators, we have investors, we have the big strategics that can help take these companies after their finance their hitting milestones and get them out to market, we, in fact, have some companies that are working on early detection of cancer and various technologies that would potentially be of interest, I believe, to a company like Siemens, so you were recently quoted, in an article, in reference to a discussion about some challenges with NHS that we can't just throw money at the problem, we have to really throw innovation and technology to solve these problems. So I what is the what is the Siemens approach for innovation? Is it internal or external? I'm sure it's a combination of both. But if you're an innovator here, you're an investor that would really like to get closer to Siemens? How does that how does each organization has their own culture of acquiring new technology? How would if I'm a company here, and I have a story I want to share with you how do I how do I connect the Siemens loaded question if I found out smiling, yeah.


Because people are saying, well, you are complicated, by the complicated for a complex for a reason. But I know, I mean, coming back to the to the main question. I mean, you heard me talk, in the very beginning, I mean, what what I find fascinating in this field, and this, this, this eternal dialogue between the physician and the take the engineer and physicist Yeah, about what is needed and what is possible, and this exchange. And I think there is no product, no innovation in Siemens Healthineers, which is not the result of a clinical collaboration, of working closely with the leaders, especially in academic medicine. So our traditional and still most important innovation model is working with the leaders in the field to make make technologies better, now in our in our world. There is something special about this and because there is almost a trained group of sub specialty physicians, the radiologist, the radiation therapist, lab, in lab medicine, or the cardiologist whose raison d'etre is more or less to use the equipment we built yet, so and then this dialogue is so to say, very, very unnatural thing to happen. But now, we need to think broader also. And this is where the smaller companies, and so on, come come into play. In our case, it is not as much as it is in the, let's say, in the device industry, where you can say, hey, here's an independent piece of innovation, which you can plug in to the big Medtronic and Boston Scientific or so who have an a huge, let's say, apparatus, with all respect, yeah. to, to, to sell and to organize clinical trials and so on. Because in our, in our world, it needs to be connected to the to the other technologies. So it's an application on top of the CT scanner, or so. But it is not something which can stay independent, it needs to be technologically integrated into what we are doing. And that is why when talking to us is important to find the right group. And to some extent, we are a campus as Siemens Healthineers with six or 8000. Engineers here to find the right group in the right field. And there's not a central innovation department. I mean, when we when people talk to us, we can route them to the right people. Yeah, but in the end, it is engaging with the people who are working on the exact same field.


Scott Pantel  19:34  

Okay, that's a good that's a good transition into people. This theme continues to come throughout every event we have it came up last night and now you're bringing it up and you're managing a huge organization. We're trying to innovate and you have a massive organization with a lot of people in 2020 with the Varian acquisition, I think one of the sensitivities or one of the Things that you were very conscious of going into it is that you didn't want to have the big company swallowing up the little company you wanted to maintain the culture and the variant culture. Then we have COVID. Now we're working remotely. And I did my due diligence on you and spoke with many of your employees. And I'm going to just, I'm going to list a few words here that people use to describe you, when they talked about your leadership style. Right, because it will allow you to talk yeah, I won't, I won't tell you the source of these people that these are, these are the words that were described for you again, with reference to post Varian, post COVID. Where are we today? Okay. Coach, leader, sarcastic sense of humor, we haven't seen any of that yet.


Humble, tough, but the ones that came up over and over, we're authentic and inspiring. So you have this huge organization that you're trying to inspire. We have this event with, you know, 450 people here, a couple 1000 that are streaming in, we're all trying to inspire our people. So talk a little bit about how you created this culture for both innovation but but inspiration, what are some of the things that you that you did?


Bernd Montag  21:18  

I mean, so thank you for the compliments. Thank you for filtering out these. See, I think what what is what is important is I mean to in, you know, I'm not a big fan of this word, leader. Yeah, this is a bit of a glorified term. Yeah. But But, um, you know, when it comes to showing what's possible, yeah. And connecting it to the bigger to a little bit of the bigger picture here, because I think the privilege of being the CEO, is that you can see more. Now, I want to say I see more, but not because I claim to be smarter, but because I have the job. Yeah. So you can connect things you can, you can see. And then you can give back to those who who are more deep than brought in as me and I have the privilege I can be here talk to inspiring people. I was at the UN General Assembly, yes. Yesterday, the day before and talk to, you know, African presidents and so on, I can bet I can give back to what what I talked about this in with the president of Kenya about cancer care. Yeah. And I think this context setting is super important. And I think especially in this field, which is so inspiring, to see this, this context. And to not get lost, we need to finish the software version by end of December. I'm not happy with them. So I saw so I think this constantly reminding ourselves of the, of the unique purpose we have here. And I think there's a second topic, which I think is also important. And I this industry is a is also is an industry about people about connecting people, you know, in a broad line this year with a lot of division, and now even more and so on. The US in Siemens has near 66,000 people in 75 countries. Yeah, we have employees in China and in the US, in Russia and in Ukraine, working towards one common law. Yeah. And I think this aspect here of saying, hey, look what is possible. And we also want to be a bit of a beacon to, to show how one can work together is something which I really think is important. And I think not only for the big companies, but I mean for all of us working in this field.


Scott Pantel  24:13  

It's true. We agree to completely work in the best industry, the things that we do touch people's lives can make a difference. There are some practical things that you did coming out of COVID There was this idea coffee with burned I think that you had implemented sounded fun, but as I talk to people more closely, it was more than just fun it it meant a lot to your teams. And it sounds like something you've carried on


Bernd Montag  24:37  

Yeah, I mean, this is an interesting thing. I mean, you know, you know, when we when we switched to home office and so on. It was the how to stay connected. Yeah. And there's one topic which is funny I mean, you are the CEO you are socially distanced. Before normally you know the as you're putting in office here and then people want to visit you need to go there. on, I need to talk to the Secretary is it okay to order coffee or not? And where should I sit? And yeah, when all bound comes, we need to clean up. So unhappy. I mean, you can be as natural as you want to be. I mean, the you know, the title gets into your way as to to some extent and what is really nice? In in in zoom or teams, it's very democratic. You switch on, you see what's in the bag, you talk about, hey, how do you keep contact with your parents? Who are 80 years old? How do you do this ends on you have a different type of discussion, and you are just one of many. And this, it creates less barriers. So it was from that point of view, very nice. But it meant a lot. For me, at least, to be able to connect the two teams in Latin America, Singapore, or wherever, yeah, it was much easier than before, announcing I'm going to come. And it I think it created a sense of connectedness in a in a super difficult time.


Scott Pantel  26:08  

It definitely has had an impact on your on your staff and the limited folks that I talked to has had a huge impact. So we have some rapid fire questions that we want to go through, we're coming up towards the end. But before we get to that, you know, I wanted to challenge all the big strategics not just I won't pick on you, because you're up here but challenge all the strategics to work with the ecosystem to figure out how we can all do better together, I think some some great relationships will be established here, some deals will be done. And hopefully that all translates into technologies to patients faster. What what words of encouragement or challenge do you have for the innovators that are here? The investors that are here? What can we do as an ecosystem? To move things forward? more quickly? I know, that's a very high level question. But


Bernd Montag  27:01  

yeah. I mean, first of all, I think it is very important that we are not impressed by the current environment. Now, I mean, it's clear, you know, it's a different way of looking at, at Capital currently, and so on and so on. But this is exactly the good the best time to make the right decisions. And to not to and to not hold back. And I think this is one one aspect. And, and I think this as I said, I think the time for mid Tech has never been better. Yeah. When I when I'm not able to give you the number one priority because I think there are three it's a good message. Why it shows how much the road needs us. So optimism.


Scott Pantel  28:01  

Okay, very good. So now's the time maybe we can go on an m&a run over the course of the next couple of years possibly. So I'm going to go into some rapid fire questions here. Biggest challenge you faced as far as a CEO


Bernd Montag  28:21  

See, I think what is always super difficult is stopping something. Anybody it's necessary. Yeah. I mean that I mean we have exited certain businesses and this is always super super hard. Because as an innovator and as an optimist, you believe in it. And there's one lesson I learned here banned it is a decision not a conclusion. Don't wait when you stop something until it's a conclusion until it's logical because then it's by far too late. Yeah, but making this you know when you when you have a group of people who are super passionate about something and you basically say I don't think this will make it or that is not the best use the there's other opportunities which are better. This is always the toughest and luckily it doesn't happen very often.


Scott Pantel  29:26  

Right. So don't wait move. Take action. biggest accomplishment accomplishment you're most proud of at Siemens.


Bernd Montag  29:34  

Yeah, so using using a Siemens was the most healthiest. Because I personally don't really like the word pride. It gets into your way Yeah. No, but I think what is I think what what I'm really proud of for the for the our team that we are that I mean you said we are in a new company but but in our community With a tradition, but to say, sometimes I say, and people may laugh, you have your startup in medtech here. But you know, creating this company as a team to see in which really, you know, is is a new kid on the block in the in the German index, which is a new category of company worldwide and in standing for for a special culture. I think this is what what we can be a little bit proud of, as long as it doesn't get to our head. Yeah.


Scott Pantel  30:41  

What's been the biggest surprise that you've seen in life? In life? Please?


Bernd Montag  30:51  

No, well, that is a big question. biggest surprise.


Scott Pantel  30:58  

Something you didn't expect to happen at Siemens Healthineers. That surprised you that you had to react to. As a CEO, obviously, you get many of these. The biggest one?


Bernd Montag  31:09  

The biggest surprise,


Scott Pantel  31:11  

or the funnest want to talk about with


Bernd Montag  31:13  

whoo hoo hoo hoo. Got a surprise? Surprise, surprise. See, I mean, I'm always in, in in the so I give I give a bit of an abstract answer. I think the biggest surprise is always other people. Yeah. And when you watch the bots below the surface, yeah. And, and this is, I think, yeah, so I wouldn't leave.


Scott Pantel  31:45  

I'll pile on to that. One of the comments that came up from your, from your team was that there's this attitude of bring your bring your real self, bring your genuine self is a culture that you've created. So that's, that's intro. We'll go to a more simple question. What book is on your shelf right now? I know you're an avid reader.


Bernd Montag  32:07  

Yeah, so my shelf is virtually so I'm I am I'm an audio book fan. Yeah. So which is fits better to my lifestyle. So because I can, whatever I do my again, go running or whatever. But I'm always listening to a book, which helps a lot here to get some different perspectives by the current one, which I just finished. Yeah. I mean, it even fits to what we discussed. It's a small philosophy of the encounter. Yeah, and it's, I liked it. Yeah. So it's the big word philosophy and then encounter mean being hands on it is really about how do people get better by inquiry, you know, how, what, what life changing things are happening when you encounter others. So it's a very nice book. Very good.


Scott Pantel  32:58  

Okay. Well, I'd like to leave it with something a little open ended and give you a chance to again inspire folks here the Siemens Healthineers mission is that you pioneer breakthroughs in health care for everyone everywhere. How is Siemens Healthineers doing against those goals and what can we what can we expect in the future?


Bernd Montag  33:19  

I mean, first of all, a word of background to this I mean, you you mentioned the Varian acquisition I say combination and I say combination because this is not you know, the quote unquote bigger company taking over the smaller ones because we want it to be and we are super respectful. We Hey, hey, this is a broad market leader. They were beating us two years ago in radiation therapy when we had to exit and one of the difficult moments and and they are an older company than us as a as a as a public company. Yep. So I mean an all star team joining us and I said hey, you are joining us as a as an you're joining an all star team, you are the Lebron James we are not teaching you how to dribble the board. Yeah. So by what we wanted to do is also not come up with a joint vision or joint purpose. And and what mod variant brought to Siemens health in Yes. It's, it's much more about the patient. Yeah, because it's about cancer care. Bye. Let's say the the heritage of the let's say classic Siemens Healthineers is more on the is a bit diagnosis heavy, where you're also a little bit in the second line medicine, you are catering to physicians who are referred to radiologists led medicine and so on. Yeah. So in this this broad the for everyone everywhere. Yeah, so the topic of the variant is a super tender super clear vision creating a broad without fear of cancer. Yeah. So when we wanted to embrace this, so this a little bit of the story, it's the story of the combined company. And with the for everyone everywhere. We are very serious about these 3 billion who don't have access to care. We have a Big Top initiative called Access to Care where we are really focusing on this. How can we democratize our technologies? How can we, with governments, with NGOs, with other companies create the ecosystem which is necessary to give more people access to the great work we are all doing in this field?


Scott Pantel  35:48  

Very good. Thank you. Burn thank you for helping us to kick off this meeting. Please. Let's get burned. A warm welcome round of applause. We're at exactly 20 seconds. So we're on time and tradition. I'm sure we'll stay on time today. Right AV team. Thank you. Okay. Thank you. Thank you.


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