- CompanyIntuitive Surgical
In an age of automation that’s raised concerns over the future of work and labor, Gary Guthart is embracing the robots.
Guthart, CEO of robotic surgery giant Intuitive Surgical, isn’t so much an advocate for machines replacing workers as he is an evangelist for technology that could make medical treatment safer and more efficient with the help of groundbreaking, minimally invasive robotic tech.
These machines are able to conduct complicated surgical procedures as a surgeon uses a video game–like platform to maneuver the device’s various arms and a high-definition camera—inserted via small holes in the body without the need for slicing someone wide open. And Guthart’s approach has catapulted Intuitive into the industry’s top echelons.
Consider: Intuitive’s profits rose a staggering 64% in the past 12 months alone under Guthart’s leadership. Its stock value has spiked more than 40% over the past two years, easily outpacing the broader Nasdaq composite.
And this all happened while Guthart and company are staring down competition from massive rivals such as the medical technology giant Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, and even Verily—the life sciences arm of Google’s parent, Alphabet. (J&J and Verily have established a joint robotic surgery venture called Verb Surgical.)
What’s driving this record of growth is an aggressive strategy of expanding into new markets, performing a wider variety of procedures with the help of new technologies, and reaching out to surgeons to train them in the use of Intuitive’s flagship da Vinci products—all while capitalizing on the firm’s long-established dominance in the robotic surgery space. That includes new tech to conduct lung biopsies for cancer diagnosis and thoracic procedures. In fact, the company announced in its third-quarter 2019 earnings report that the number of worldwide da Vinci procedures grew 20% compared to the previous year.
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