Arthur D. Collins, Jr., WG’73

2020 Joseph Wharton Awards

Arthur D. Collins, Jr., WG'73
Retired Chairman & CEO, Medtronic, Inc. 

Art Collins retired from Medtronic in 2008. He assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic, Inc. in 2001 and became Chairman of the Board in 2002. He previously had been elected Chief Operating Officer and member of the Board of Directors in 1994 and President in 1996. He joined the company in 1992 as Corporate Executive Vice President and President of Medtronic International with responsibility for all Medtronic operations outside the United States. During his tenure as CEO and COO, Medtronic’s revenues and earnings per share both grew at an annual compound growth rate in excess of 15 percent.

Medtronic is the largest medical technology company in the world with annual revenues of over $30 billion. Conducting business in more than 150 countries, Medtronic’s employment currently exceeds 90,000. In addition to having one of the most impressive records of superior financial performance during Mr. Collins’ tenure, Medtronic was continually cited as one of the most admired companies in the industry and was singled out for its strong corporate governance and commitment to philanthropy and community involvement. It is interesting to note that the most important statistic tracked within the company is not found on the balance sheet or the income statement—it is that about every two seconds, someone somewhere in the world receives a Medtronic product that either significantly improves or saves their life.

Mr. Collins joined Medtronic from Abbott Laboratories where he had been Corporate Vice President with responsibility for Abbott's worldwide diagnostic business units since 1986. He commenced his 14-year career with Abbott in 1978 as Manager of Corporate Planning and Development and moved to the Diagnostics Division a year later where he subsequently held a number of general management positions in the United States and Europe. He was elected a corporate officer in 1989.

Before joining Abbott, Mr. Collins served as an officer in the United States Navy from 1969 to 1973. After completing Officers Candidate School as a Distinguished Naval Graduate, he served as a line officer and was honorably discharged with the rank of Full Lieutenant. From 1974 to 1978, Mr. Collins was a consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton in Chicago. As a consultant, he conducted major assignments in the areas of business strategy development, marketing, organization planning, financial analysis, and financial systems design.

Mr. Collins currently is a member of the Board of Directors of The Boeing Company, and he previously was a director of Alcoa, Inc., Arconic. Inc, Cargill, Inc., Tennant Company, and US Bancorp. While on those boards, he held numerous leadership roles including lead director and chair of governance and nominating, compensation, and finance committees. He also served as a member of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Board of Visitors for the Farmer School of Business at Miami University. In addition to serving as previous Chairman of AdvaMed, the medical technology industry association, he has been on the boards of numerous governmental and civic organizations including the President’s Export Council.

Mr. Collins was a senior advisor to Oak Hill Capital Partners from 2009 to 2019. In this capacity, he consulted with Oak Hill Capital’s managing partners, providing advice and expertise in a variety of areas, including the private equity portfolio. Mr. Collins and Sophia Shaw, retired president & CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, in 2016 formed Acorn Advisors, LLC, a consulting firm focusing on governance, strategic planning, and succession planning for nonprofit organizations and large family offices. In addition to his business and civic endeavors, Mr. Collins has authored The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb, a nine-book series of adventure/fantasy stories for children and young adults.

Mr. Collins received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Doctor of Laws honorary degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He also holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the undergraduate faculty and recently received the Joseph Wharton Lifetime Achievement Award.

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