AMBITION & APTITUDE

UAE, Dubai 2014 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

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

Majid Kaddoumi
BIOGRAPHY
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 Arabia, 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 were the deciding factors behind moving your HQ to Dubai?

For a vast region that extends to areas like Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a need for better accessibility to some of the countries that need our assistance the most. For this reason, Dubai serves as a great hub; it attracts global talent, and a lot of the international corporate level regional decision-making happens in Dubai as well. It is useful to be based where trends can be experienced firsthand. Dubai is a dynamic city, and is a comfortable place to establish a strong base for accessing such a vast region. It is also important to mention that Beirut will remain as the Medtronic headquarters for the MENA region, with the exception of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It will serve the region from Pakistan to Morocco.

What is the importance of this region, and Dubai specifically, for Medtronic's global strategy?

Globally, Medtronic is exerting much energy on making sure we are well represented outside of the traditional, mature markets such as the US and Europe. Our CEO, Omar Ishrak, since his commencement at Medtronic, has made sure that this is a pillar in the process we follow to take decisions. Our region, as an emerging global market, is receiving ample attention, which we see as a great opportunity. In turn, Medtronic Global is giving us all of the support necessary to provide better access to our patients in the region, and for the various therapies and technologies we produce. It is a vast region, and, thus, we have created sub-regions within, and we define different sets of strategies for each sub-region. This process may even take on deeper consideration for single account strategies in certain cities. The broadness of such strategies and our commitments will depend on the level of interest we see from our partners in the field, the healthcare providers, the existing penetration levels, the target potential, and the aspirations that these partners have. These sub-regions will be supported by their own separate localized structures.

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

The leadership in Dubai wants to establish Dubai as a great city for healthcare delivery, so that it can steadily attract medical tourism. The population of Dubai primarily comprises expatriates who are young. The ease of accessibility in Dubai would make it a good place for medical tourism. Based on the size of the city and the demographics of the population, Dubai has the best chances in the region when it comes to medical tourism.

Medtronic has plans to open a Medtronic Academy in Dubai. Can you elaborate on your expectations for this?

There are 1.4 billion people and close to 70 countries in this region. Many of these countries do not have the technologies necessary to provide care for patients. Infrastructure is not the only issue; we also face the skill level of the providers. There is a tremendous need in the region to develop healthcare professionals who can provide complex therapies. These are sophisticated therapies that require extensive training. They usually deal with the most sensitive areas of the body, the heart, the brain, the spine, and the nervous system. Multiple layers of training, education, and programs are necessary to be able to carry out even basic procedures. Some of our programs take two years of training. Dubai is an easily accessible center that can give us the flexibility to work with hospitals or universities.