Franklin Lakes-based BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, announced the appointment of Elizabeth McCombs as executive vice president and chief technology officer, effective April 26, succeeding John DeFord.
McCombs, 45, will be responsible for continuing to drive the company’s category innovation strategy and leading all research and development (R&D) activities, including executing the current innovation pipeline and developing the future product portfolio.
“Beth has been an influential leader since joining BD, leading R&D for the Medical Segment to achieve all key innovation and execution metrics with significant improvement over prior years,” said Tom Polen, chairman, CEO and president of BD. “She has served as a highly impactful R&D sponsor for our top Medical segment priorities, while co-leading the segment portfolio strategy and growth acceleration initiatives. In addition, Beth has helped to prioritize and redirect investments toward high-growth spaces that will accelerate category innovation across the Medical Segment businesses, with a focus on smart connected devices.”
McCombs, who brings more than 20 years of extensive experience in advanced medical device innovation to her new role, joined BD in 2019 as the senior vice president of R&D for the BD Medical Segment. She began her career at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Ethicon Endo-Surgery and progressed through positions of increasing leadership responsibility, including director for the J&J Corporate Office of Science and Technology (COSAT), focused on external technology partnerships; R&D leader for the J&J Sports Medicine business; vice president of Surgical Innovation for the Ethicon franchise; and most recently, as vice president of R&D for Ethicon, while also leading China R&D and Industrial Design/Human Factors for all of J&J Medical Devices. Aside from her technical credentials, Beth has been recognized for her work driving inclusion and diversity efforts, including the support and mentorship of fellow female professionals.
“BD is making great strides in shifting our R&D portfolio toward high impact opportunities like smart connected devices, enabling new care settings, and improving diagnosis and treatment for chronic diseases,” said McCombs. “We will continue to advance an insight-driven innovation strategy and accelerate external technology partnerships and investments to increase the velocity and value creation of the innovation funnel, and we are committed to deliver the best customer outcomes and return on investment.”
McCombs holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
BD also announced the creation of an external Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which will be comprised of top medical key opinion leaders, science and technology experts and experienced innovation leaders. The SAB will meet to review BD’s technology capabilities, innovation pipeline, tuck-in M&A opportunities and early-stage investments. The SAB will also advise BD’s leadership on its growth prioritization as well as emerging trends in health care, science and technology, and the potential implications for BD.
John DeFord, following his retirement from BD on May 28, will be a founding member and co-chair of the SAB. DeFord brings 35 years of extensive industry experience to the SAB as well as in-depth knowledge of BD’s R&D and business priorities. DeFord earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, where he also earned a doctorate in Electrical/Biomedical Engineering.
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