When we sat down in January with Sandi Peterson, group worldwide chairman at Johnson & Johnson, she said that J&J was all about inking deals and partnerships with tech companies.
Now, the health care and consumer goods conglomerate has found its guy to make those deals: Ex-Dropbox Corporate Development Chief Marc Leibowitz. His title at J&J will be head of “Health Technology Strategy and Business Development.”
Leibowitz has been in Silicon Valley awhile. He started a company in the dot-com era that you haven’t heard of, and then joined Google as employee #801. He spent some time at StumbleUpon and has worked at Dropbox for the last three years.
In an interview with Recode, Leibowitz and Peterson expanded a bit on what they plan to do next.
“This is about recognizing we’re not gonna do everything ourselves,” Peterson said. “We’ve made really great progress [in Silicon Valley], but what was obvious to all of us was that we needed a big leader who comes out of the technology world.”
The “really great progress” to which Peterson refers includes a couple significant deals. There’s the joint venture with Google to work on robot-assisted surgical tools and a deal struck with IBM’s Watson unit last year. More recently, J&J announced a big partnership with HP Inc. (the hardware-focused half of HP) to work on applying 3-D printing technology to health care.
Leibowitz and Peterson declined to say more about what’s in the pipeline for Johnson & Johnson but stressed that the company has the legal and operational know-how to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and the health care world.
“J&J has unrivaled regulatory and operational expertise. Very few companies in the world have that sort of reach and scale,” Leibowitz said.
When asked about recent high-profile tech failures in health care — like the downfall of the blood-testing startup Theranos — Leibowitz paused for a moment before answering.
“I am still learning my way through the organization, but what strikes me about health care is that to be successful you need to be really mindful of all the regulatory aspects.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.