December 10, 2018
SHOP TALK

Insulet moving to Acton, switching CEOs

Shacey Petrovic & Patrick Sullivan, incoming and outgoing CEOs, Insulet

Employees: 1,000+

Locations: Acton, San Diego, London

Founded: 2000

Ages: 45 (Petrovic); 67 (Sullivan)

Birthplaces: Milwaukee; Springfield, Ill.

Residences: Concord; Sudbury

Education: University of Wisconsin; U.S. Naval Academy & Harvard Business School

Insulet, a manufacturer of the wearable OmniPod insulin system for diabetes patients, will move its worldwide headquarters in mid-December from Billerica to a $100-million Acton facility. CEO Patrick Sullivan will retire Dec. 31 and hand over the reigns to Shacey Petrovic, the firm's president and chief operating officer.

Why retire now?

Sullivan: When I first came to the company when I was 62, I agree to run the company for three to five years. We've made great progress in setting the company up for the next phase of growth.

How did you set the company up?

Petrovic: When Pat started out with the company, he wanted to solve some of the market access issues. He solved the primary one earlier this year by getting Medicare reimbursement.

He understood we had the opportunity to right size the company and right our global operations. That was accomplished earlier this year when he flipped the switch on our European headquarters. The other was a focus on U.S. manufacturing. Once we have everyone over in Acton, that will be complete. Finally, Pat made us profitable, and we accomplished that this quarter with our first quarter of net income.

Sullivan: The other goal was to bring more innovation to market. We just got approval in June for our OmniPod Dash new system that is in limited market release headed toward full market release.

Petrovic: Pat goes out having an incredible legacy.

Any plans for retirement?

Sullivan: I flunked retirement before, and I going to try to not flunk retirement this time. I plan to travel a lot more with my wife, and we have three granddaughters in Washington, D.C.

When was the transition plan developed?

Sullivan: The transition plan developed over time. Shacey original came in as the chief commercial officer, so she was in charge of all the commercial side of the business. In 2016, after she had been here almost two years, she became president and COO. She has responsibility for all of the company outside the financial, legal and HR side of the organization.

Finally, we announced in September she was taking over the CEO role, which was the culmination of two years of planning by getting her exposure to the other areas of the business. She has done a terrific job and is ready to rock and roll.

Shacey, what are your plans?

Petrovic: We will see continued adoption of OmniPod across the U.S., Europe and new geographies. We will see new innovation. Our strategic plan has us a launching a new product virtually every year for the next five years. There will be strengthening of our financial profile: becoming more profitable, seeing our margins improve and becoming more diverse in our revenue.

What new products will you launch?

Petrovic: Most of the new products are heavily diabetes-focused. We have a partnership with San Diego medical device manufacturer Dexcom on what we are calling OmniPod Horizon, which will be an automated insulin-delivery system. There is tremendous enthusiasm in the marketplace for that.

We partnered with Samsung to have an OmniPod app on the phone. Right now, OmniPod is controlled by a hand-held controller, but soon you can control it on your phone.

Once Insulet's move and your transition is complete, you will be the only woman CEO of a Central Mass. public company.

Petrovic: It's pretty cool. I don't think of myself as a female CEO or a female leader when I think of the challenges and opportunities before us at Insulet. I think about all those independent of that, but it is a really cool stat. What excites me the most is being at the helm of such an innovative company with a strong growth trajectory.

Why did you pick Acton as the new HQ?

Petrovic: We had a very thoughtful search and actually looked outside the United States, but we wanted to be have R&D and manufacturing together, so we could get strategic about our product launches. Acton was great because there was a facility that fit our needs, which would could develop around. It started as about 100,000 square feet and is now about 300,000 square feet. There is a very talented workforce there.

We worked with Gov. Charlie Baker, who was excited because we are bringing hundreds of manufacturing jobs outside of the Boston beltway into a community like Acton.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Editor Brad Kane.

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