Gwen Watanabe, Teleflex Inc.’s (NYSE: TFX) vice president of global corporate development and strategy, is responsible for finding acquisitions to help grow the $1.9 billion maker of medical devices. And some of those targets are companies she started.
Prior to joining Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Teleflex in 2013, Watanabe co-founded and was CEO of Hotspur, a developer of catheter-based technologies. In 2012, Teleflex acquired Hotspur for $15 million, a deal Watanabe helped lead without relying on an investment bank to help broker the transaction. Watanabe also co-founded medical device maker Nellix Endovascular, which was later sold to Endologix Inc. (Nasdaq: ELGX) in 2010.
2017 was a busy year for Watanabe, as Teleflex acquired medical device maker Neotract for around $1.1 billion and completed the purchase of catheter producer Vascular Solutions for $972 million. Minneapolis-based Vascular’s product reduces the cost of various medical procedures, and the acquisition was also aimed at improving Teleflex’s research and development efforts.
Watanabe is a member of the Teleflex executive committee and reports directly to CEO Benson Smith. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and her MBA from the Harvard School of Business.