Photo of awardee

John R. Chiminski

President and CEO,
Catalent Pharma Solutions
MSEE ’87

In recognition of his leadership and management success in the health care field and his outstanding support of education

John Chiminski has always had an affinity for technology. Everything from motors to electronics to early PCs sparked his interest, which he fostered by spending a lot of time at the local Radio Shack in his hometown outside Detroit. Chiminski eventually found another way to pursue his interests — earning degrees from three Big Ten universities. Today, as president and CEO of Catalent Pharma Solutions, he is a leader in the complex world of health care technology, providing advanced drug-delivery solutions to pharmaceutical, biotech and consumer companies in nearly 100 countries.

Chiminski has held the title of CEO at Catalent since March 2009. The Somerset, N.J.-based company, which has nearly 9,000 employees in 30 worldwide facilities, generated more than $1.7 billion of annual revenue in 2010.

The move to Catalent put Chiminski on the pharmacy side of health care after more than 20 years in diagnostic imaging at GE’s health care division. He started working at GE Healthcare in Waukesha, Wis., in 1988 in the early days of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, which he describes as “an engineer’s dream.” He served as an engineering manager on the first multi-slice CT scanner, which ended up being a game-changing technology. Chiminski rose through the ranks at GE, becoming the leader of the MRI business in 2005 and ultimately president and CEO of GE’s medical diagnostics business.

Chiminski says it was the diversity and richness of his education that prepared him to lead companies. A General Motors scholarship helped pay for his undergraduate education at Michigan State. In return for the scholarship, he interned summers at GM’s manufacturing plants. “I enjoyed the fast pace of the shop floor and the direct contact with the product,” he says of his time there.

A generous teaching-assistant fellowship allowed Chiminski to attend grad school at Purdue. “Michigan State had a total engineering department of about 400, including grad students. Then I enrolled in a school that had 400 engineering grad students alone!,” he says. “It was total immersion in engineering as a discipline and philosophy that has guided me my entire career.”

Chiminski rounded out his education with an MBA from Northwestern in 1996, which prepared him for the leadership roles that would follow. “A lot of engineers have become effective CEOs because they have firsthand experience in building what people want. They’re product people first,” Chiminski says. “But my MBA was also critically important. It changed my trajectory from being a good engineering leader to becoming a good business leader.

“I went to three Big Ten schools and loved them all. They are all stellar schools. But my heart belongs to Purdue. Purdue put me in a whole new league of performance. It taught me to recognize excellence.”

A proud Boilermaker, Chiminski serves on the advisory board for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received the school’s outstanding alumnus award in 2006.

Career Highlights

2009-present President and CEO, Catalent Pharma Solutions
2007-2009 President and CEO, GE Medical Diagnostics
2005-2007 Vice President and General Manager, GE Magnetic Resonance Business
2001-2005 Vice President and General Manager, GE Healthcare Services
1988-2001 Various positions, GE Healthcare
1996 MBA, Northwestern University
1987 MSEE, Purdue University
1986 BS Electrical Engineering, Michigan State University