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Kellogg graduate and Luminex CEO Patrick Balthrop '96 addressed students during a keynote speech in Evanston on Sept. 17.

Luminex CEO Balthrop ’96: Know the global market

Mixing business and pleasure, Center for Biotechnology sponsors event to welcome new Kellogg students; Kellogg alum delivers keynote address on leadership — and more

By Crystal Gentilello

9/21/2007 - “It takes more than leadership to be successful,” said Patrick Balthrop ’96, CEO and president of Luminex Corp., a life sciences technology company.

His remarks came during a Sept. 17 keynote address that was part of an educational and networking event hosted by the Kellogg School’s Center for Biotechnology to welcome incoming students.

Balthrop, a graduate of the Kellogg Executive MBA Program, spoke to students about strategy, execution and the evolving role of a CEO working within the biomedical field. He also related how his experiences and Kellogg education prepared him for his current position. While his experiences taught him the value of execution, focus and results, Kellogg “gave [him] the confidence to be decisive and to make the right decisions.”

“This event is part of an initiative to bring successful alumni in the biomedical field back to Kellogg to inspire incoming students and generate interest in this exciting area, “ explained Sangeeta Vohra, adjunct professor and associate director of the Center for Biotechnology, about organizing the biotech student social event.

Recruited by Luminex to develop and execute a turnaround strategy, Balthrop joined the company in May 2004. From 2004 through 2006, Luminex revenues grew at a compound rate of 26 percent, he said. The strong trend continues with reported sales growth year to date at over 30 percent. Vohra hopes students will be inspired by Balthrop's ability to transform Luminex to a profitable firm in just two years — and do so using the senior management in place when he took over.

Balthrop said that the days when mere statesmanship, communication skills and a “power tie” were the only prerequisites a CEO needed are long gone. Instead, he introduced students to his concept of the 360° CEO, a framework he likened to a compass: It represents the direction an organization takes and the ability to know its surroundings.

The Kellogg graduate said it was essential for leaders in the biomedical field to understand their position in the global marketplace and to be able to see potential opportunities and threats from several directions, not just one. Not doing this “is a recipe for failure,” he said.

Balthrop also encouraged conducting a 360° self-assessment, noting that this is how others see a leader — holistically. He also emphasized that building credibility is the most crucial component in fostering effective relationships, highlighting the importance of leading by example.

First-year MBA student Catherine Irwin attended the biotechnology mixer because of her interest in the healthcare sector. “Since I am looking into hospital management, Mr. Balthrop’s message of how to lead large groups in an ever-changing field was most valuable,” she said. “I was encouraged by the fact that the management principles he uses and recommends are the very points we have been discussing in our Kellogg Pre-Term classes over the last few weeks. It’s great to see classroom material have real-world applications.”

After his address, Balthrop answered audience questions. The event concluded with the student-run Healthcare and Biotech Club executive committee introducing themselves to the incoming class. Club members highlighted the many ways to participate in the Kellogg biotechnology community. The networking session that closed the evening provided an immediate opportunity to bring new students together with other Kellogg peers.