West Wireless Health Institute Names J&J Exec as First CEO

3/9/10Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s West Wireless Health Institute today named Donald Casey as its first chief executive officer. Casey, a former worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s Comprehensive Care group, also will serve on the institute’s board of directors, according to a statement issued today.

Gary West, who sold his Omaha, NE-based West Corp. for $3.3 billion in 2006, founded the institute almost exactly a year ago with a $45 million gift from his family foundation. West, who serves as chairman of the nonprofit institute’s board, told me in October that he founded the institute in San Diego, which already is known as a hub for both the wireless and life sciences industries, to spearhead the development of new technologies that can reduce the costly inefficiencies that plague healthcare.

As the Institute’s inaugural CEO, Casey will be responsible for organizing and focusing its research efforts in ways that accelerate wireless health innovations. The institute also is intended to serve as a technology incubator and center for wireless healthcare advocacy and education. Casey also will serve a defining role in setting the institute’s global strategy and collaborative efforts in medicine, engineering, technology, and business.

Don Casey

Don Casey

“For me, being the first CEO of West Wireless Health is an absolute honor,” Casey says in a video on the institute’s website. “It means I get to be on the ground floor when we set up our mission, we set up our strategy, and we set up our prioritization, and we begin to set up how we measure ourselves. We want to be an organization that’s focused on outcomes.”

West told me last year that he viewed filling the CEO position was crucial to the institute’s development, and he personally led the search for what he called “a superstar-quality” person. In a statement, West says, “when we launched our worldwide search for our first CEO last year, I said we would be patient, yet relentless when it came to finding the right person to lead this Institute.” He adds that Casey “knows health care inside and out, and has a stellar track record in identifying and commercializing innovative products.”

Casey, who began his career with Johnson & Johnson in 1985, oversaw the healthcare conglomerate’s global franchises in cardiovascular, diagnostic, diabetes and vision care. He holds an MBA and bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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