“Develop a small network of trusted informal advisors and mentors to be an independent sounding board as you address the challenges of this new role.” –Pete Mariani, CFO, Axogen
Like many of his finance leader peers, Pete Mariani credits a senior operational role with helping him to plant both feet on the path to the CFO office.
However, unlike many of his peers, Mariani found his transformational role to be in Japan.
Back in 1998, he was a director of finance for Guidant, a maker of cardiovascular medical products that was looking to grow its footprint in a number of markets offshore—including Japan, where it had recently acquired one of its distributor partners.Read More
“I gave an immediate, ‘Yes!,’” recalls Mariani, when asked whether there was any hesitation before accepting the offer that would advance him into a vice president of finance position at Guidant’s soon-to-be-established Japan subsidiary.
Operational experience was one of the incentives that Guidant had promised Mariani, so before long the finance transplant had numerous functional areas within the subsidiary reporting to him, including warehousing and distribution, customer care, IT, legal, and compliance.
As functional areas became established and the American company successfully aligned its culture within the international setting, growth became a natural by-product.
“I think that when we began, we had about 50 employees in Japan—4 years later, there were more than 300,” reports Mariani, whose Japan career chapter would end in Year 4 when he returned to the States after having been named controller and chief accounting officer for the company.
However, upon his return, more than a promotion lay in waiting.
“We landed back in Indianapolis on the same day that they passed Sarbanes-Oxley,” remembers Mariani, citing the devilishly complex compliance legislation that would occupy many of his waking hours in the months and years ahead. –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Axogen … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Mariani: We are in nerve repair. Actually, we are creating the market of nerve repair. Right now, without Axogen, nerve repair is really a surgical technique. If you sever a nerve in your hand, surgeons can come in and try to pull the two nerve ends together and suture it up. However, if there’s tension on this nerve, you’re not going to get a good nerve repair. If there’s a gap that needs to be filled in this nerve, the surgeon is going to harvest nerve from behind your heel and use this to fill a gap in a nerve in your hand or your arm or somewhere else on the body. This procedure is called an autograft. It works, but the problem with it is that you’re left with a numb foot for the rest of your life. Plus, this surgery to harvest the nerve from behind your heel comes with a pretty high complication rate.Read More
Our Axogen inventors, our entrepreneurs, came up with a way to decellularize human nerve tissue to create pre-sized grafts that can be stored on the shelf. This allows a surgeon to use an off-the-shelf nerve graft—a human nerve graft—to repair that gap and to do so without having to harvest nerve from someplace else on the body. This new nerve graft functions just as well if not better in some cases than an autograft in and of itself. Thus we have the ability to offer a much simpler surgery to the patient, as well as a much lower complication rate at a lower cost to the overall healthcare system.
Our priorities, like those of a lot of other healthcare companies, are to continue to navigate what we hope are the waning days of the coronavirus. Granted, I think that we’re all aligning with this notion that this is going to be with us for a while. It’s not going to end and be completely in our rear-view mirror. It’s going to be with us. We’ve got to be able to function in a way that says that we’re going to work through this very constructively. We’re going to keep our employees safe, keep our customers safe, keep our suppliers safe. We’re going to do everything that we can to do this. We’re going to work through the ups and downs of variants as they come and go. Hospitals are really struggling right now, and we’re going to help to support them as they work through the staffing shortages and other challenges that they have.
There are a lot of rules and regulations coming down that are impacting everybody’s life and business life right now, and they have to be navigated. We just have to be calm and constructive and work through this. We need to have a vision for the future that says that we are going to get through it. My priority here on the customer side and on the company side, is just that: To work through things calmly, professionally, and confidently, with the understanding that we can continue to grow this business. I think that we are going to do this. As a business, we have some tremendous opportunities to continue to develop new technologies, to create new offerings for our company, and to achieve some really important goals. We’re going to be about all of that this year.
Axogen | www.axogen.com | Alachua, FL