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Elscint reshapes executive lineup to sharpen sales and marketing focus


Imaging veteran Southard hired; Sohval departsIsraeli-based vendorElscint made sweeping changes to its executive lineup this month.The changes, one of which was the departure of president and CEOShmuel Parag, are part of the company's ongoing

Imaging veteran Southard hired; Sohval departs

Israeli-based vendorElscint made sweeping changes to its executive lineup this month.The changes, one of which was the departure of president and CEOShmuel Parag, are part of the company's ongoing effort to improveits sales and marketing savvy and make the vendor more responsiveto customers, according to Dr. Thomas Spackman, president of Elscint'sU.S. subsidiary.

Elscint's technology is well regarded by the medical imagingindustry, but the company's sales and marketing effort has sometimeslacked focus. Elscint last year hired Spackman, a radiologistand longtime Elscint customer, to bring a more customer-drivenapproach to the company's Hackensack, NJ-based U.S. operations(SCAN 11/17/93).

Spackman's plan to rejuvenate Elscint moved into high gearthis month with the hiring of Donald Southard to head the firm'ssales and marketing program. Southard is a veteran medical imagingexecutive whose last position was president and CEO of independentservice organization Serviscope. Southard has also worked forToshiba and Philips.

Southard replaces Robert Sohval, who left Elscint to accepta position as CEO of a yet-unnamed technology firm. Southard willalso assume the duties of sales VP Hanan Rotman, who will becomevice president of special projects.

Earlier this month, Elscint announced the departure of Parag,who headed the U.S. subsidiary's Haifa-based parent. Taking Parag'splace is Jonathan Adereth, a 22-year Elscint veteran.

The changes are all part of Elscint's new emphasis on salesand marketing, Spackman told SCAN. Bringing in an outside executivelike Southard should infuse the company with fresh ideas and attitudes,he said.

"One of the things that I really felt was necessary tolight a spark under sales was to bring somebody into the organizationwho has wide industry experience and who really knows the playersand the places and how everything fits together," Spackmansaid.

Spackman and Southard are developing a comprehensive marketingplan for Elscint that will serve as the company's blueprint forgaining market share, particularly in the U.S.

"We will look at how we sell, where we sell, how we market,whether we want to distribute ourselves globally or focus on certainmarkets," Spackman said. "All of those issues have notbeen addressed within the company up to this point and requiresome careful thinking and some strategy and some experience."

Elscint is suffering along with the rest of the nuclear medicineindustry due to the slump in gamma camera sales. CT sales areprogressing well, however, in part due to Elscint's leading-edgeCT Twin technology, Spackman said. In MRI, Elscint is involvedin discussions with Otsuka Electronics about acquiring that firm'sclinical MRI business. Otsuka president John Heinrich confirmedthat Elscint is one of several companies it is talking to, butElscint is not the unnamed vendor with which Otsuka signed a memorandumof agreement to buy the business earlier this year (SCAN 8/31/94and 8/10/94).

In reshaping Elscint's sales and marketing effort, the goalwill be to develop an organization that helps Elscint productscut through the fiercely competitive medical imaging market, Southardsaid.

"What we are trying to do is not make (Elscint) a structuredhierarchy, but transition it from a small company with limitedresources into a focused, hard-hitting, nimble entrepreneurship,"Southard said.

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