TBY talks to Majid Kaddoumi, Vice-President and Regional Director of Middle East, Turkey, and Africa for Medtronic, on the company's global strategy, plans for Turkey, and long-term regional goals.

Majid Kaddoumi
Majid Kaddoumi holds a Master’s in International Law and a Bachelor’s of Public Administration and Economics from the American University in Washington DC, and has vast experience in commercial and operational leadership. Prior to his current position, he was Country General Manager for GE Healthcare in Saudi, at a time when the company became market leader. He also acted as Zone Manager for Saudi devices in GE Healthcare and oversaw impressive growth of the business. Before this, Majid was the general manager of a leading Saudi distribution/packaging company for healthcare equipment and services. He also held leading positions in several other Saudi companies in the fields of operation, maintenance, distribution, and consulting services.

What is the importance of this region for Medtronic's global strategy?

Medtronic is giving a lot of attention to make sure we provide access to our therapies globally. The focus has been placed on ensuring that this is how we carry out our decisions. Having said that, our region—an emerging global market—is receiving a lot of attention. Some people would probably feel the pressure; we think it is a great opportunity. Medtronic Global is offering us the support necessary for us to provide our patients in the region with better access to the therapies and technologies we produce. Once you look at how big the region is, you understand that you cannot have a single defined strategy, and you cannot have a single goal. Obviously, however, there are common goals. At Medtronic, we have a very noble mission that we truly believe in, and it guides us in our operations from Pakistan to Morocco, and from Turkey to South Africa. This is a vast region, and thus we have ensured that there is a dedication to creating sub-regions. These sub-regions can establish different sets of strategies that they can monitor throughout.

How would you characterize Medtronic's specific strategy for Turkey?

Turkey is a rather diverse market. The economy has proven to be a very stable one, even in difficult times. The population is among the largest in the region, and the healthcare infrastructure provides a good level of service. Turkey has good specialty hospitals, polyclinics, and reimbursement systems. Turkey, as a market, is one of our strongest potentials for contribution. Turkey has done a great job improving its life expectancy. The population we now serve is much larger than it used to be, and I think that trend will continue. Specific diseases, such as diabetes, which is a core specialty for us, are significant for the region, and particularly for countries like Turkey. The diabetes rate of some of the countries in the region is 20% of the population. That is the estimate of a few million people around the region. When you look at the costs in the system associated with such treatments, and how companies like ours can try to reduce the impact while improving quality of life, Turkey is a perfect place to start because the set-up is there. We recently announced our acquisition of Biostar and the start of more collaboration with Medicall, our 10-plus-year distributor in Turkey. We will have access to most of the regions in Turkey for our therapies. This gets us closer to the patients. It also gets us closer to trends where we can contribute more, and that makes it easier for us to make investment decisions since we are directly engaged and involved in the market.

Where do you see Medtronic in the long term?

We are hoping to be able to serve every region we are responsible for through directly dedicated Medtronic resources. We believe that local experts need to serve local patients at the point of need, we are thus exploring many new models to work with our existing partners to help support them achieve top performance in terms of service delivery to patients. We estimate that we are now serving close to 300,000 patients per year in this region. We are hoping to serve 1 million patients by the end of 2018. In 2014, at Medtronic, we are going to see departments that focus on government programs and Hospital Solutions.