Jan Makela chosen to succeed Eric Bernard as WS Audiology President and CEO from July 2024

Outgoing CEO and President Bernard oversees growth in revenue by more than 50%.

Peter WIX, Published on 17 April 2024

Jan Makela chosen to succeed Eric Bernard as WS Audiology President and CEO from July 2024

WS Audiology (WSA) announced today that Jan Makela has been appointed as its President and CEO, succeeding Eric Bernard, with effect from July 15, 2024.

Makela, currently President and CEO of GE HealthCare Imaging, will be moving with his family from the UK to Denmark in the coming months. His “impeccable track record” of 17 years of diverse and successful experience in the medical device and life sciences industries has convinced the WSA board that he is the right person to lead the group behind the Widex and Signia brands into “the next cycle of profitable growth, innovation leadership and consistent execution”.

Makela has a Cambridge master’s degree in engineering, and began his career in production management with M&M/Mars Inc., followed by leadership roles at A.T. Kearney management consultants. In 2000, he joined GE and has worked for the group in their divisions of Capital, HealthCare, HealthCare Global Services, and HealthCare Imaging, now overseeing a business with revenues of approximately USD 10bn and over 10.000 employees.

WSA Board Chair Lars Rasmussen commented: “The CEO succession at WSA has been well planned and agreed between Eric and the owners, the Tøpholm and Westermann families and EQT. With the appointment of Jan Makela, we have a strong successor with an impeccable track record. The board is confident that Jan will lead WSA into the next cycle of profitable growth, innovation leadership and consistent execution.”

Eric Bernard, five years at the top of WS

Leaving the post of CEO and President, but supporting Makela in his transition to the new role, is Eric Bernard, who led the company through its first five years after the merger between Sivantos and Widex in 2019. “The owners and the board express their deep gratitude for Eric’s relentless commitment to WSA and his many contributions and achievements,” said Lars Rasmussen. Those achievements include growing revenues by more than 50%, the board chair points out.

Bernard himself described his time at the top as “one of the most exciting of my career”.

“We have been able to build WSA into a leading player in the hearing aid industry. I would like to thank our employees for their tremendous commitment and sincerely wish Jan lots of success,” said Bernard.

The incoming Makela commented: “I am thrilled about the opportunity to enter the world of hearing care and lead WSA, which is recognized as one of the most innovative MedTech companies in the world, enabling millions of people with hearing loss to continue to participate fully in society. The growth opportunities in hearing care are outstanding, as global markets are underserved. I am inspired by WSA’s purpose: Wonderful Sound for All, and look forward to working closely with the team and contributing to the company’s success.”

Source: WSA