Looking back, Nathan Winters says that his appointment as CFO of GE Healthcare’s global supply chain was in every way a milestone in his career—a high-calorie leadership stint that would ultimately propel him into the CFO office at Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA), a publicly traded provider of digital workflow and tracking solutions.
Says Winters: “It gave me the responsibility for delivering productivity, improving working capital, and thinking about how we transform the supply chain to really create value for the company.”Read More
It also charged Winters with leading a global team spanning more than 50 manufacturing sites.
“I had to quickly learn how to lead differently, drive change, and deliver results,” he explains.
After 17 years with GE, Winters joined Zebra in 2018 as vice president of corporate development and business operations.
“This was just a great opportunity for me to leverage my operational background in a technology company but move outside my comfort zone,” comments Winters, who adds that his first few years at Zebra also opened the door to new experiences.
“I was exposed to investor relations, board communications, and the debt equity markets in ways in which I had not been exposed before,” he comments.
“This was really the missing piece that helped to allow me to step into the CFO role earlier this year,” says Winters, closing the loop on his GE-to-CFO journey. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us about Zebra Technologies. What does this company do, and what are its offerings?
Winters: Zebra is a solutions provider that really enables its customers to automate and digitize their operational workflows and have visibility into what’s happening in the front lines of their business. Our technology comes in the form of barcode printers, scanners, mobile computers, software, and analytical tools. It allows our customers to sense what’s going on and analyze and act on this information in real time. For example, a retail store clerk who’s picking your online order that you made and bringing you your groceries curbside is using our technology to pick that order, bring it to you, and make sure that you’re getting the right groceries when you pull up.Read More
Or it could be a nurse who’s providing patient care at a bedside—they scan the patient wristband and they scan the medication to ensure that it’s being delivered to the right patient. Our technology is really used across a variety of frontline applications. You see it every day out in the real world.
I’ve had a couple of priorities. One was to continue to build a relationship with the board of directors. I knew some of them from my experience of having been with the company for a few years, but building these out was one of the key priorities. Another one was all-around investor relations—building relationships with the analysts, getting involved in our investor communications. I’d seen it from the preparations for an investor call, but it’s one thing to help to prepare and it’s quite another to be in the actual seat. I’ve spent a lot of time with our head of investor relations, who’s a great investor relations leader and has really helped me to prepare. Again, it’s preparation, it’s spending time. I’d say that we overprepare, but I think that ultimately this helps us to have a great work-quality product when we’re talking to investors and analysts.
“The shadow that you cast across the organization is greater than you can ever expect. It’s a dramatic change from being a member of the leadership to being the CFO. Be rooted in a set of values early on that will enable the company’s vision/strategy and communicate your vision, operating style, and priorities early and often.” –CFO Nathan Winters
Zebra Technologies | www.zebra.com | Lincolnshire, IL