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Jan Makela to succeed Eric Bernard as WS Audiology President and CEO

16 Apr 2024

Press release

Lynge, Denmark, April 16, 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.

 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. The owners and the board express their deep gratitude for Eric’s relentless commitment to WSA and his many contributions and achievements. He has led the company through the first 5 years after the merger, growing revenues by more than 50%, strengthening the leadership team, driving employee engagement levels to best in class and developing WSA into a sustainability leader. 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.

Jan Makela will join WSA from GE HealthCare where he currently is President and CEO of Imaging, overseeing a business with revenues of approximately USD 10bn and over 10.000 employees. Jan brings 17 years of diverse and successful experience in the medical device and life sciences industries, having led businesses in field services, radiology imaging, diagnostic pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. He will be moving with his family from the UK to Denmark in the coming months.

Jan Makela said:

“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.”

Eric Bernard commented:

“My time at WSA has been one of the most exciting of my career. Together with a dedicated leadership team, and supported by our owners, 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.”

Eric Bernard will support Jan Makela in his transition to the new role and will after a short break serve as an industry advisor to EQT.

About Jan Makela

  • Jan Makela is currently the President and CEO of GE HealthCare Imaging, which offers industry-leading technologies and services across MR, CT, PET, nuclear medicine, x-ray, women’s health, interventional, surgery, imaging analytics, and software.
  • From 2017 to 2020 Jan served as President and CEO of GE HealthCare Global Services.
  • He joined GE Capital in 2000 and moved to GE HealthCare in 2007 to lead the Diagnostic Imaging Services business across Northern Europe. He later served as Chief Operations Officer for the European region.
  • Jan began his career in engineering and production management with M&M/Mars Inc., followed by leadership roles at A.T. Kearney management consultants before joining GE.
  • He has a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Cambridge.