Medtronic CEO on inflation, the 'Great Resignation' and working with Elon Musk

Medtronic Chair and CEO Geoff Martha stepped in at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020 to head up one of the biggest manufacturers of medical technology. He spoke about a newfound trend of increased patient agency, talent turnover and partnering with SpaceX with the Yahoo Finance team Dec. 4. 

Medtronic is a $30 billion medical technology company with over 90,000 employees. While traditionally, the company works directly with physicians and hospital administrators to develop and install technology, Mr. Martha said patients are increasingly taking their health into their own hands.

At the start of the pandemic, Medtronic had to quickly ramp up manufacturing to mass-produce ventilators, as they made one-third of the world's supply. It managed to scale up from making 200 ventilators a week to 1,000 a week. When supply chain issues hit, it partnered with aerospace company SpaceX to develop a specific part for the ventilators. 

"Next thing you know I'm on the phone with Elon Musk and he really became a good partner of ours," said Mr. Martha. 

He mentioned that despite the rise in inflation, Medtronic hasn't passed along any of the cost to its clients. Instead, he said, "We are getting more aggressive on cost down programs to offset that."

The "Great Resignation" hasn't evaded Medtronic, as Mr. Martha says that he's spending a lot of time hiring.

"We're losing some talent, some of it regrettably, but we're actually gaining a lot of talent too," he said, noting that applications are up 40 percent overall and technology-related applications are up over 50 percent.

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