The following paper is a “Q&A interview” conducted by Joanne Pransky of Industrial Robot Journal as a method to impart the combined technological, business and personal experience of a prominent, robotic industry turned successful business leader, regarding the commercialization and challenges of bringing technological inventions to market while overseeing a company. This paper aims to discuss these issues.
The interviewee is Dr Gary Guthart, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Intuitive Surgical, Inc., and a member of the Board of Directors, both roles he has held since 2010. Guthart discusses his journey to becoming the CEO and also shares some of his lessons learned and challenges faced.
Guthart received a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from California, Berkeley. He earned an MS and a PhD in engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Guthart’s first scientific experience came early in his career in a Human Factors Lab at NASA, supporting a team studying human performance assessment of pilots. Guthart was then part of the core team developing foundational technology for computer-enhanced surgery at SRI International. While at SRI, he also developed algorithms for vibration and acoustic control of large-scale systems. Guthart joined Intuitive Surgical as part of the first engineering team in 1996 as a Control Systems Analyst. He was promoted to Vice President of Engineering in 2002 and was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer in 2008.
Under Dr Gary Guthart’s leadership and his more than 25 years of medical technology, engineering, scientific and management experience, Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the world’s most successful medical robotics company, has grown to: more than 8,000 employees; nearly 6,000 da Vinci systems sold; more than 8.5 million procedures performed and an increase in stock (NASDAQ: ISRG) of more than 600%. Guthart is also on the Board of Directors for Illumina, Inc., and a member of the Board of Directors for the Silicon Leadership Group.
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