Medtronic CEO Hawkins to Retire in 2011

Willliam A. Hawkins intends to step down at the end of April; the company has begun an external search for his replacement.

Medtronic, Inc., said Monday that its CEO since 2007 will retire next year.

William A. Hawkins, who is also chairman of the Fridley-based company's board, intends to step down at the end of the current fiscal year, which concludes on April 29.

Medtronic's board of directors has begun an external search for Hawkins' replacement but said that Hawkins will remain in his position until his successor is appointed.

Hawkins, 56, joined the medical-device maker in 2002 as senior vice president and president of its vascular business. He quickly worked his way up the ranks, becoming president and chief operating officer in 2004, CEO in 2007, and chairman of the board in 2008.

When asked about Hawkins' post-retirement plans, Medtronic spokesman Brian Henry told Twin Cities Business on Monday afternoon that Hawkins has not announced his plans for the future and is now focused on leading the company until a successor is named.

Since becoming CEO, Hawkins has grown the company's annual revenue from $12.3 billion to $15.8 billion. He has led Medtronic as it has expanded through both product innovation and acquisitions. In 2009 alone, Medtronic acquired three companies (Ablation Frontiers, Ventor Technologies, and CoreValve) and purchased diabetes technology from another, PreciSense.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure at Medtronic and am confident that we made the right investments in talent, quality, and innovation to position the company for long-term growth and future success,” Hawkins said in a statement. “It has been an honor and a privilege to lead such a talented, committed organization and I will work closely with the board to ensure that the transition to my successor is smooth and effective.”

Medtronic is Minnesota's seventh-largest public company based on revenue. It designs, manufactures, and distributes a wide range of medical devices for global use.