Stan Bergman of Henry Schein Named 2017 Chief Executive of the Year
Richmond Dental & Medical wanted to take a moment to shine a spotlight on Mr. Stan Bergman, who was recently awarded a prestigious honor: the 2017 Chief Executive of the Year, which he gives credit to the entire Henry Schein team for. Mr. Bergman is the CEO of Henry Schein, one of the world’s largest providers of dental, medical, and veterinary services and products.
Henry Schein got its start during the Great Depression as a storefront pharmacy located in Queens, New York. Today, the company has climbed into the Fortune 300 list, making it a true American success story. In fact, since the company’s IPO in 1995, its shares are up 1,300%, which doubles Berkshire Hathaway’s return over that same timeframe. With 21,000 employees in 33 countries, 1 million customers, and 3,000 suppliers—not to mention sales that are touching $13 billion this year—Henry Schein is a company with an impressive past, and a bright future.
That success has a lot to do with Mr. Bergman. He joined the company in 1980 after a consulting stint with BDO. In 1989, Mr. Bergman was tapped as the new CEO. At the time, the company faced two critical challenges: a floundering distribution business, and poor expense management. Per this excerpt from Chief Executive:
The response from Bergman and his team was twofold. They decided to transform the company’s catalog business into a leading platform for dental technology and, later, veterinary products. Dentists and vets know their work, but not all are proficient in the business of running their practices. For example, at that time, dentists didn’t know what to do with computers, so Henry Schein educated them, creating the largest installed base of computing systems for the profession in the process. Over time, the company became the trusted partner in practice management solutions for dental and animal health practices.
Though these decisions proved fruitful from a business standpoint, it’s Mr. Bergman’s commitment to team culture that may ultimately be his lasting legacy. He wanted to maintain the values-based culture where people came first, but also hoped to provide employee benefits through a sustained strategy. This can be seen through community service programs like “Gives Kids a Smile,” which offers free dental care via 2,000 sites across the country.
What we love most about Henry Schein is their commitment to the customer. Though they boast that impressive stock price and performance, Mr. Bergman doesn’t believe the company caters to investors. The goal is to improve the business each year; if you do that, consistent success will follow. His customer-focused approach is evident in one of his answers during a Q&A with Chief Executive:
“Yes, we want to sell more product to them, but our goal is to help our customers succeed. Most of them are small to medium-size businesses. We want to help them operate a better business so that they can provide better clinical care. Because if you only worry about the clinical care, you will not be around in a competitive market, and if you only care about making money, well, you’re not discharging your responsibility.”