Changing of the Guard at Philips

Article By : Anne-Françoise Pelé

Philips president and CEO Frans van Houten will pass the torch to Roy Jakobs, currently head of the company's Connected Care businesses, on October 15, 2022.

Philips president and CEO Frans van Houten will pass the torch to Roy Jakobs, currently head of the company’s Connected Care businesses, on October 15, 2022.

An extraordinary general meeting of shareholders will be held on September 30, 2022, to formalize Jakobs’ appointment as president and CEO. To support the transition, van Houten will act as advisor to the company until April 30, 2023.

Roy Jakobs_ Philips
Roy Jakobs (Image source: Philips)

Jakobs joined Philips in 2010 as chief marketing and strategy officer for Philips Lighting. He successively held prominent positions such as market leader for Philips Middle East & Turkey across health systems, consumer, and lighting and chief business leader of the Personal Health businesses.

In June 2021, Jakobs took responsibility to address the Philips Respironics recall of ventilators, bi-level positive airway pressure machines, and continuous positive airway pressure machines due to potential health risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted users that, “The polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam, which is used to reduce sound and vibration in these affected devices, may break down and potentially enter the device’s air pathway. If this occurs, black debris from the foam or certain chemicals released into the device’s air pathway may be inhaled or swallowed by the person using the device.”

Philips initially expected to complete the replacement and repair of all affected machines within a year. In late July, however, the company notified that “Philips Respironics has produced a total of 3 million replacement devices and repair kits” and “expects to complete around 90% of the production and shipment to customers in 2022.” In total, the company expects to replace around 5.5 million devices globally, of which more than half are in the U.S.

For full year 2021, Philips announced that its income from continuing operations was €612 million and included an impact of €719 million related to the Respironics field action provision.

In his role, Jakobs will continue to improve and strengthen Philips’ performance as a healthcare technology company through a planned approach, the company said. Key priorities are to deepen quality and patient safety capabilities across the company, to complete the Respironics field action in consultation with the relevant authorities, and to lead Philips back to its profitable growth trajectory by addressing current headwinds, including strengthening supply chain resilience to enable the successful conversion of record backlog into sales.

Van Houten started his career with Philips in 1986 in marketing and sales at Philips Data Systems. He moved his way through the company’s ranks working in the United States, Germany, and Singapore, and held several leadership positions within the company, including co-CEO of the consumer electronics division and CEO of Philips Semiconductors. Van Houten left Philips in 2006 when it spun out its semiconductors division to create NXP Semiconductors as an independent company.

Frans van Houten_Philips
Frans van Houten (Image source: Philips)

Van Houten resigned from NXP in December 2008, three months after announcing a major reorganization of NXP.

He returned to Royal Philips Electronics as president and CEO of the company on April 1, 2011, succeeding Gerard Kleisterlee who retired from Philips.

“Guided by his vision and the execution of the strategic roadmap, he [Frans van Houten] has successfully led the company’s transformation from a diversified industrial conglomerate into a focused, global solutions leader in health technology,” said Feike Sijbesma, chairman of the supervisory board of Royal Philips. “Building on its 131-year heritage, he repositioned Philips to significantly enhance the future value-creating prospects of the company. Frans led Philips with genuine care for its customers, patients, and its employees.”


This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.

Anne-Françoise Pelé is editor-in-chief of and EE Times Europe.


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