Chuck Dockendorff ’76 has worked for the medical devices firm, Covidien,* and its predecessor companies since 1989. Matt Gattuso ’93 has worked there since 1996. In spite of their long tenure with the organization, the two Isenberg graduates did not meet until 2006. They do, after all, practice different disciplines and are a generation apart.
Dockendorff, an Isenberg accounting graduate, has been Covidien’s CFO since 1995. He is responsible for the company’s financial management and activities, including corporate accounting, tax, treasury, financial planning and investor relations, as well as internal audit and information services. Gattuso, who majored in marketing, has been president of Global Health Systems for Covidien since 2010. In that role, he leads the company’s strategies for key accounts, group purchasing organizations, integrated delivery networks, government contracts and other customers.
Covidien’s products include medical devices and supplies. They comprise Surgical Solutions (stapling, surgical instruments, sutures, etc.), Vascular Compression (compression, dialysis, peripheral stents, etc.), and Respiratory and Patient Care (monitors, ventilation, wound care, etc.). Gattuso explained that half of the company’s revenues are from outside the United States and that Covidien is growing robustly in emerging market countries.
During a day-long visit to Isenberg, the duo spent quality time with seniors, MBA students, and members of Isenberg’s student-run Minutemen Investment Fund. They also reminisced about their years at Isenberg. Dockendorff credited the accounting program’s John Anderson, James O’Connell and a youthful Ron Mannino as his chief faculty influences. “I gained lots of practical savvy and passed the CPA exam on the first try,” he recalled. “I still use those [Isenberg] lessons in my work today.” Praising Isenberg and its marketing program, Gattuso emphasized his strong and continuing relationship with his former advisor and mentor, marketing professor, Charles Schewe.
Professionally, for over a decade, Dockendorff and Gattuso excelled with Covidien’s predecessor companies, including Tyco Healthcare. In 2007, Covidien was formed when Tyco International separated its healthcare business into an independent company. The change allowed the company to increase its investment in research and development and make acquisitions to advance its strategy to more comprehensively address key specialties and procedures around the world.
“Since then we’ve been a top performer in our industry. Optimizing our portfolio through organic R&D, acquisitions, and divestitures has helped us to excel in our markets,” said Gattuso.
And how did the newly independent firm fare during the recent recession? “We did fine,” observed Dockendorff. “While certain areas of our company were affected, we have a diversified product portfolio and we are less impacted by fluctuations in elective procedures. We just stayed focused.”
Early in 2015, when he retires, Dockendorff can take pride in having helped the company grow sales from $600 million in 1995 to more than $10 billion as CFO. And Gattuso is excited for the future of the company and the opportunity for current and new customers. As he told the students, “That is my world—customers.”
*In June, Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology, services and solutions, and Covidien announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement under which Medtronic has agreed to acquire Covidien. The combined company will have a comprehensive product portfolio, a diversified growth profile, and broad geographic reach.