General Electric

Attracted by the success of Innomed, specially by our winrate against Siemens and Philips, General Electric (GE) approached Innomed concerning an acquisition. The fact that both Siemens and Philips announced new products (which eventually did not reach competitiveness against us) and the reality of limited growth opportunities in the German speaking countries, as well as the desire of my investor to get a return on his investment, lead us ( my investor and me) to the decision to agree to their offer. So it happened that in the fall of 1997 we joined a large international corporation – General Electric (GE). This was an exciting move for me personally, as it opened completely new opportunities for growth in international markets, as well as personal growth. One of my first big challenges I faced was the English language. The English I learnt at school was a complete disaster (only because of me not learning, not because of the teachers). On a trip to Milwaukee to meet with Jeff Immelt (at that time CEO of GE Medical Systems), my major contact person in my first weeks in GE made it quite clear: If you do not learn English as soon as possible, you will not survive 6 months. But when we met Jeff, he had a great idea: I will send you to Crotonville (GE´s university) to participate in the so called “Management Development Course” and you will learn it. But unfortunately there was no slot for me available in the next 6 months, so I had to find another way to learn it. I bought books and several courses on audio cassettes. I used every opportunity in the car or in the plane with my Walkman and my books to learn it, with good success: I was not fired.
Larry Johnston , CEO EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), my 1st boss in GE made me the General Manager EMEA of the Healthcare IT business. He put a finance manager and a Human Resources manager at my side and told me: Jürgen I want you to build me an IT business. This 2 guys will support you.
The 1st year in GE was tough: A lot of new things, business done completely different from what I was used to, quarterly pressure, the English challenge, etc. But then from the 2nd year onwards, we picked up momentum. We successfully entered a couple of new markets, became market leader in some of them and won significant orders. One of them was the win of a Picture Archiving and Communication Solution (PACS) for the Southern part of England. This was one of the biggest orders for GE Healthcare at all. We grew the business from $7M with appr. 40 employees to more than $200M annual revenues with appr. 600 employees.
The time in GE was great for me. Beside English, I learnt a lot of stuff: how to lead, run and grow a business. I had the opportunity to meet with –from my point of view- some of the best business leaders in the world. I had excellent colleagues and some of them became real good friends. GE´s genuine focus on integrity was very much appreciated by me. I had the opportunity to travel a lot and to see the world. Also from a cultural point of view it was a fantastic experience. I had great employees and colleagues in Northern Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. I really loved them and always enjoyed the time I could spend with them on business trips or in our “famous” training meetings in Mallorca or other places. I owe this GE a lot and I am convinced there was probably no other company which would have better supported me in making such a career.

In Sep 1997 General Electric acquired Innomed
Personal Signature for me in one of Jack´s famous management books
A great team...working hard and playing hard!
We had a lot of fun together
some became real good friends
My job gave me a lot of opportunities to see the world
I learnt golf...
...and had several opportunities to meet some of the best business leaders in the world
At GE I worked together with great colleagues and friends, from whom I could learn a lot
Feb 8th 2011 - the morning after my fairwell dinner at Chateau de Montvillargenn (close to Paris) with my boss and my staff
My business is in good hands, Olivier - my successor, a great leader and friend, <br> Vishal my boss (in between us)