Pete Nicholas, WG’68

2019 Joseph Wharton Award for Lifetime Achievement

Pete Nicholas, WG'68 
Co-Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Boston Scientific Corp. 

Pete Nicholas is Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Boston Scientific Corporation. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from the company’s founding in 1979 until 1999, when he turned over CEO responsibilities. Mr. Nicholas formally gave up his Chairman role and retired from the BSC Board in 2016. Under Nicholas’ vision and leadership, Boston Scientific grew from a start-up company to a global corporation with approximately 32,000 employees and revenue of $9.823 billion in 2018. Today, Boston Scientific is one of the world’s largest medical device companies dedicated to less-invasive therapies.

Before co-founding Boston Scientific, Nicholas served as general manager of the Medical Products Division of Millipore Corporation. From 1968 to 1978, he held a variety of positions both domestically and internationally at Eli Lilly in sales, marketing, and general management. Since his retirement from BSC, Pete founded a family -owned partnership, Ithaka Partners, along with his three children. Ithaka Partners is a venture/private equity firm that invests in early and mid-stage companies with innovative breakthrough technologies primarily in the fields of energy, healthcare, environmental and opportunistic internet-based technologies. 

Nicholas is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and former vice chair of its Academy Trust, and he is a member of the American Academy of Achievement. He is a recipient of the Phoenix Lifetime Achievement Award, signifying distinguished leadership
and accomplishment in the medical device industry as well as the prestigious AdvaMed industry award in 2016 signifying his pioneering role in the development and commercialization of Interventional Medicine. He is also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Nicholas has served on various for-profit and not-for-profit boards and was formerly Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Duke University. He is the founder of the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy and Solutions at Duke University.

Nicholas served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for two years resigning his commission in 1966. He holds a BA from Duke University, 1964 and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, 1968. Pete and his wife, Ginny, have three children and seven grandchildren and live on Cape Cod and the west coast of Florida.