CHIEF EXECUTIVE, EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORP
DAY JOB: Runs Orange Country's largest medtech employer—about 4,500workers here, and 14,000 worldwide.Maker of heart valves and related products, as well as critical care monitoring equipment. By far OC’s most valuable public company, sporting a $50 billion market cap.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Fighting the worldwide pan-demic on many fronts, owing to its life-saving products and global reach—plants and labs in seven countries, offices in 35 and patients in more than100. Edwards’ field clinicians have been taking the same safety risks as other front-line healthcare workers as they assist with heart surgeries, and sometimes join in to help with COVID-19 patients. The company has re-worked its supply channels to maintain stocks of everything from animal tissues for heart valves to face masks for employees.
NOTABLE: Edwards had as of May given $3 million worth of its critical care monitors to the relief group MAP International and in-creased by $1 million its safety net grants in Orange County and other places where it has facilities. In late January, when COVID-19 was still an abstraction for most Americans, Edwards’ China team donated surgical gloves and masks to overwhelmed hospitals in Wuhan.
QUOTABLE: “I’ve had a 40-year career in medical technology and dealt with a lot of issues, but never anything like this—the sheer global scale, the fact that it has touched so many people in such profound ways and with so many unknowns,” Mussallem told the Business Journal’s Rick Reiff at end of April.
FAST FACT: Business as usual in the company’s cleanrooms, where workers making heart valves sit next to each other as they painstakingly sew and assemble the marshmallow-sized valves. The company said strict social distancing isn’t necessary because the rooms are kept sterilized. Workers have always worn masks, gloves and gowns, washed their hands regularly and practiced other hygiene. A filtration system removes contaminants from the air and rooms are scrubbed with strong solutions.
2020HOBBY: “With the reduced travel and overall increased time at home,I have been able to build in some kind of fitness activity every day"