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Veterans Unpacked | Former Medtronic chair and CEO: 'Be an authentic global leader with a clear purpose'

Harvard Business School Professor and former Medtronic chair and CEO Bill George on the big shift in management, being an authentic leader and meeting the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

December 17, 2022 / 09:33 AM IST
Bill George, Harvard Business School Professor, author and former Medtronic chair and CEO.

Bill George, Harvard Business School Professor, author and former Medtronic chair and CEO.

Note to readers: How ​do corporate leaders surf life after hanging up their boots? What do they do next? What are the lessons they learned in their eventful journeys? What advice do they have for the current crop of leaders? Veterans Unpacked is a new series of interviews aimed to offer readers lessons from retired bosses on life outside the corner office.

Bill George is former chair and CEO of Medtronic, a medical device manufacturer. During his tenure there, he practiced what he preached.  When he became CEO in 1991, he pledged to fill the role for only ten years, following his belief that diversification of a company’s leadership was the best way to ensure its future success. As promised, he resigned as board chair of Medtronic in 2002.

Earlier in his career, George was a senior with Honeywell and Litton Industries and served in the US Department of Defense. He has served on the boards of Novartis and Target Corporation, and now serves as director of ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, and the Mayo Clinic. He is also a Harvard Business School Professor, trustee of the World Economic Forum USA and Guthrie Theater and a former Trustee of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Edited excerpts from an interview: