Microsoft hires a former GE exec to work with health companies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

Key Points
  • Microsoft has brought on former GE Healthcare exec Tom McGuinness to run the commercial side of its growing health-care business. 
  • The company says the timing is right for the hire, as McGuinness will be focused on helping the company's health clients get through the worst of the pandemic. 

In this article

Tom McGuinness, a former GE healthcare exec, is joining Microsoft.

Microsoft is hiring a new corporate vice president for its growing health-care vertical in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. 

The company is bringing on Tom McGuinness as its corporate vice president of health to run its relationships with the health-care industry. Prior to joining Microsoft, McGuinness was the president and CEO of GE Healthcare's $10 billion imaging business.  

Microsoft has been significantly expanding its health-care vertical, as the sector represents a major growth opportunity for its cloud offerings, such as Azure. The company brought on Google Cloud's Greg Moore in April 2019 and Samsung's chief medical officer, David Rhew, last August. In March, Microsoft's top health-care executive, Peter Lee, was promoted to lead Microsoft Research, suggesting the importance of health to the company's long-term plans. 

McGuinness has been on-boarding in his new role for a few weeks, but the company officially announced his hire on Tuesday. The company said that he'll be working across its customers, including the large hospitals, health insurers and life sciences companies. Some of Azure's largest customers in health care include Novartis, Walgreens and Humana

The major cloud providers have been competing for the business of health-care companies in recent years, as these stakeholders begin to move to the cloud. Microsoft's strategy has been to offer its services as a partner, and the company repeatedly stresses that it will not compete.

Now, it says, it's seeing increased demand for its services, including the use of its cloud as health-care companies look for ways to engage with their patients remotely. The company recently developed a so-called "plasmabot" to recruit those who have recently recovered from the virus to donate their plasma. 

"The job is so difficult for health-care professionals," said Deb Cupp, the company's vice president of enterprise and commercial industries, by phone. "So the timing couldn't be better for this hire, and he'll be diving in right away to orient us around what we can do to help." 

Cupp said that Microsoft from "Satya [Nadella, its CEO] down" has been prioritizing work to help the Covid-19 response. "It's really been all hands on deck," she said.

Microsoft has about 100 corporate vice presidents spanning a range of teams, according to a LinkedIn search.

Microsoft president on handling increased demand during coronavirus
Microsoft president on handling increased demand during coronavirus