BD’s CEO to retire at start of next year; names successor

By Emily Bader
Franklin Lakes | Sep 26, 2019 at 11:40 am

Becton, Dickinson & Co.‘s CEO is retiring at the beginning of next year.

The Franklin Lakes-based medical technology company said on Thursday that Vincent A. Forlenza, chairman and CEO, will retire as CEO on Jan. 28, 2020. He will stay on as the executive chairman of the board of directors.

Thomas E. Polen, current president and chief operating officer, will be taking over the role of CEO and president, effective Jan. 28, 2020.

“As we head into the final year of the BD-Bard integration, the board and I have been focused on preparing for the next phase of the company’s growth, and we recognize this is the right time to appoint a successor with the vision, drive and capability to lead BD into the future,” Forlenza said. “Tom is a strategic, customer-centric executive, who brings tremendous energy, a deep understanding of the industry and health care technology, and a strong track record of delivering results. He is passionate about our purpose and BD’s potential to make an even bigger impact in the lives of patients around the world. I have greatly valued our partnership, and the board and I firmly believe that Tom is ideally positioned to drive the company’s continued success.”

Polen, who’s been with BD for 18 years, currently oversees BD’s three business segments. He previously served as president for the BD Medical segment.

“Today’s announcement represents the culmination of a thorough and thoughtful succession planning process, and we are confident Tom’s appointment comes at the right time in the company’s evolution to ensure continuity of strategy, leadership and financial performance,” Marshall O. Larsen, lead independent director, BD, said. “Over the years, the board and I have come to know Tom as a highly strategic, driven and results-oriented leader, who is deeply committed to advancing BD’s purpose, culture and innovation pipeline. He is uniquely suited to lead the company in this next phase, having played a critical leadership role in the formation and implementation of the company’s strategy and transformation.”

Forlenza was named CEO in October 2011 and chairman of the board in July 2012. During his nearly 40-year stunt at BD, Forlenza ran both the BD Diagnostics and BD Biosciences business units, led R&D and corporate strategy, and held a variety of executive roles in the United States and Europe. He previously served as chairman of the Advanced Medical Technology Association’s board of directors from 2015 to 2017. He currently serves as the chairman of AdvaMed’s Legal Committee, serves on the board of Moody’s Corp. and is chairman of The Valley Health System board of trustees.

“On behalf of the entire board, we also want to thank Vince for his leadership during the most transformative period in the company’s nearly 125-year history. During his eight years as CEO, BD built an incredible portfolio of solutions to advance the entire health care continuum, more than doubled annual revenue, and increased market capitalization by more than 300%. We believe BD is well positioned for continued growth and success, and we look forward to continuing to partner with Vince in his role as chairman,” Larsen said.

Reflecting on his time at BD, Forlenza said, “We often say BD is a place where you can fulfill your life’s work through your work life, and that has been my experience — every day — for the past four decades. It has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to lead this organization as we’ve transformed and built capabilities that better position BD to solve some of health care’s most pressing global challenges.”

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader