After holding several leadership positions in the medical industry, Simon Campion joined Dentsply Sirona’s board of directors as president and CEO of the company in September 2022. In this interview with Dental Tribune International, he discusses his current position and talks about how the company navigated recent macroeconomic headwinds. He also discusses the company’s vision for the future and talks about participation at this year’s International Dental Show in Cologne.
Mr Campion, could you briefly tell us something about your professional background and the previous steps in your career?
I studied mechanical engineering and completed my PhD at the University of Limerick. Limerick is a major city in the Republic of Ireland. After starting my career in R & D in Ireland, I went on to hold several positions in marketing and general management in France, Germany, Canada and the US. I worked for the medical technologies company C. R. Bard for ten years before I took over an executive management position at Becton, Dickinson and Company, also known as BD, after its US$24 billion acquisition of C. R. Bard.
What challenges do you face in your position, and what are you looking forward to, in particular?
We, of course, face some challenges from the macroeconomic environment, but I continue to believe that the fundamentals of our industry remain strong and we are well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities in front of us. Demographics are supportive, and aesthetics continue to evolve globally. Also, the digitalisation of dental practices and patient engagement shows no sign of slowing down, and that is an area in which Dentsply Sirona excels. Collaboration and interoperability of systems and data will become vital to winning in the marketplace, and so will the adoption of sustainability. With our global scale, we have the power to drive transformative innovations and to advance dentistry to enable it to have a positive impact on the lives of millions of patients.
In 2022, Dentsply Sirona went through a drastic leadership reshuffle. Please tell us more about the recent changes in the company’s executive positions.
As we further evolve to transform dentistry and improve oral health globally, we are introducing a new operating model with a simplified structure. This plan will help us achieve operational stability and grow our business by leading in innovation and customer experience and investing in the necessary infrastructure.
Could you please give us some insights into the internal investigations that prevented Dentsply Sirona from filing reports for the first and second quarters of 2022?
Our audit and finance committee worked closely with independent counsel and advisors to conduct an internal investigation into certain financial reporting matters, code of conduct violations and tone at the top issues. The investigation concluded that former members of senior management violated provisions of the company’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and that there were material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting. We have taken decisive and meaningful steps to address the findings with a renewed commitment to accountability, operational rigour and integrity.
After the publication of Dentsply Sirona’s 2022 third-quarter results, you commented that you are not satisfied with the results and that this quarter marked an important turning point for your company. Could you please elaborate on that?
We have been seeing continued macroeconomic headwinds in the third-quarter results. However, the positive thing was that we had concluded the internal investigation at this time, allowing us to fully focus on our business and future again. Based on a comprehensive review of our entire business, we developed a plan for a new operating model with a simplified global business unit structure.
“I continue to believe that the fundamentals of our industry remain strong and we are well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities in front of us.”
What are your main goals for the current fiscal year, and what is your vision for the future? What do you see as potential areas of growth for Dentsply Sirona?
I cannot go into details before we present our full-year 2022 financial results, but let me explain our overall strategy. We plan to return Dentsply Sirona to growth, based on operational changes, a healthy innovation pipeline, a winning customer experience, and our great products and solutions, with an uncompromising focus on quality. This includes plans to accelerate enterprise digitalisation, increase focus on aligners and implants and create a high-performing culture in our team. We will also leverage our robust portfolio and prioritise investments in attractive, fast-growing categories, including software development, while enhancing our digital customer experience. We see our role as driving transformative innovations and advancing dentistry in order to have a positive impact on our customers, their patients and our planet.
How will the current economic situation affect your business? Will inflation and economic slowdown as well as various geopolitical risks around the world, including the war in Ukraine, have a major impact?
As I mentioned earlier, our third-quarter results in 2022 reflected continued macroeconomic headwinds, including foreign currency impacts, global supply chain challenges and regional softness in the US and China. This does not go away overnight. We remain positive and are convinced that we can enhance and sustain our performance with our plans.
After skipping the 2021 International Dental Show, which is considered the most important dental show in the world, Dentsply Sirona has recently announced that it will be returning to the event this year. Could you let us know what attendees can expect?
We are excited to have a significant presence at this year’s IDS from 14 to 18 March 2023 in Cologne in Germany. Our theme, “United for better dentistry”, will be front and centre in every aspect of our participation, since we believe that there is a need for more connection, collaboration and partnership so that the industry can move forward and oral health can improve globally.
We will also bring together leading voices for thought-provoking panel discussions on crucial topics, including: How will the latest digital innovations shape dentistry in the future? How do cloud solutions drive practices and laboratories forward? How do we collectively have an impact on better treatment outcomes? And, most importantly, what does sustainability mean for dentistry, and what actions can practice teams take to become a more sustainable business? With thought leaders from both inside and outside the dental industry, the conversations promise to deliver unique perspectives on how these rapid societal changes are affecting the dental world.
This is an important moment for Dentsply Sirona, allowing us to connect and collaborate with industry partners, showcase our cutting-edge solutions and latest innovations, and offer exciting educational sessions and thought-provoking dialogues.
A key highlight on display will be DS Core—an open, cloud-based platform powered by a collaboration between Dentsply Sirona and Google Cloud. Why has DS Core been described as the new digital universe for dental professionals worldwide?
DS Core sits at the heart of Dentsply Sirona’s digital universe, built to empower dental professionals’ growth by enabling a more connected practice. The digital platform seamlessly integrates with Dentsply Sirona’s equipment in dental practices and is accessible across multiple devices. DS Core can store all patients’ radiographs, intra-oral scans and other case-related files in the cloud and serve as the practice’s main patient media library. The cloud data is secure and enables access from multiple locations, allowing partners and colleagues to collaborate even outside their practices and bringing improved efficiency to workflows, from diagnosis to final care or treatment. Whether it is an implant, restorative, endodontics or orthodontics workflow, the high level of automation of the DS digital universe helps reduce handling times, allows delegation and enables increased productivity.
Connectivity is also a unique feature of the new Primeprint 3D printer. Is the sale of products as such still a core business for Dentsply Sirona, or is the sale of complete workflows and processes the way forward?
With our global market expertise and broad product portfolio, thinking in silos or through individual products or modules is a step backward. Our way forward—and in our opinion, that of the industry too—is through developing and offering intelligent solutions to ensure that innovations in the practice and the laboratory result in maximum benefits for clinicians and patients. In a standardised and seamless workflow, figuratively speaking, one cog meshes with another, and this leads to repeatable, reliable results, avoiding errors and decreasing time spent in decision-making and delegation. We connect the dots for our customers in every field of dentistry and are committed to delivering workflow solutions that guarantee the best possible dental treatment—in every field of dentistry.