Philips’ North American HQ will move to high-tech Seattle

August 16, 2000

Philips Medical Systems has announced it will move its 350-person North American headquarters next summer from Shelton, CT, to Seattle, a step that will put Philips’ offices next door to its ATL Ultrasound division and near the area’s

Philips Medical Systems has announced it will move its 350-person North American headquarters next summer from Shelton, CT, to Seattle, a step that will put Philips’ offices next door to its ATL Ultrasound division and near the area’s information technology employees and businesses that the company says will play a larger role in its future.

The move is part of an effort to expand the company beyond its traditional strengths in x-ray imaging to become a major provider of medical imaging information technology, said Jack Price, president and CEO, who announced the move Aug. 4 during a company “town meeting.”

“If we are to increase our leadership position in the industry, we must continue to build our IT capabilities,” Price said. “Seattle has become a central location for IT business and talent, which makes it an attractive option for us.”

Philips Medical Systems’ ultrasound division, Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL), already occupies a campus in the Seattle area, and Philips Medical Systems North America plans to take advantage of the existing ATL site, the company said.

“Obviously, being close to ATL will allow us to achieve some operational synergies that are necessary for the future. However, it is our intention that the two entities will still maintain a large degree of autonomy,” Price said.

Details will be finalized in the coming months and will apparently include moving some of Philips’ remote diagnostics operations into ATL.

Philips’ parent company recently made a move in the IT direction with the purchase of MedQuist, a provider of outsourced medical record transcription services. The deal is intended to expand the software and services Philips Medical offers in conjunction with its diagnostic imaging and PACS products and speech-processing technologies. The companies plan to expand MedQuist’s services to include software sales and application service provider (ASP) models and to jointly develop other speech-recognition technologies.

Philips Medical Systems has occupied the Shelton facility since 1972 and would face refurbishing costs if it stayed. Also, the location doesn’t offer the local hiring resources offered by high-tech Seattle.

The Seattle ATL campus has three large buildings and a fourth under construction that will be completed by the end of 2001, said ATL senior vice president and CFO Pamela Dunlap. To bridge the expansion, Philips has leased temporary space adjacent to the ATL campus for it headquarters.

In addition to the employees at its Shelton facility, the company employs another 1200 throughout the U.S. and Canada who will not be affected by the relocation. ATL will continue to be a separate brand name, Dunlap said.

Price said he hopes a lot of talent and expertise will travel with the company.

“We want to take as many people as we can,” he said.

Connecticut employees will be given the opportunity to move.

“We will continue with business as usual, with a full commitment to our customers,” Price said. “The relocation will provide a platform for Philips’ continued growth and enhance the company’s ability to meet our customers’ needs today and well into the future.”

Philips Medical Systems is represented in more than 100 countries and employs 11,800 people. It is part of Royal Philips Electronics. ATL Ultrasound employs more than 2600 people and has 12 subsidiaries worldwide.