ResMed CEO Michael “Mick” Farrell in the company’s lobby. ResMed’s high-tech conversion shows when strolling through the office’s second and third floors.

ResMed CEO Michael “Mick” Farrell in the company’s lobby. ResMed’s high-tech conversion shows when strolling through the office’s second and third floors. Photo by Stephen Whalen.

— Meanwhile, Mick was a college student studying to become a chemical engineer. Growing up in Sydney, Australia, he gravitated toward physics and chemistry, balanced with a love of music and photography.

In 1998, he obtained master’s degrees in business administration and chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While at MIT, he worked as a process engineer at BHP Billiton, followed by gigs at Genzyme and Arthur D. Little. In 2000, he put experience in biotech, chemicals and management consulting to good use in a new role: ResMed’s director of business development.

“I’d call my father for advice on choosing between two jobs,” Mick said. “He said, ‘If you’re going to interview for one of my competitors, you should interview at ResMed.’

“No offense to him, I said, ‘You’re a $50 million startup. I’m talking about multibillion dollar companies.’ And he said, “This company will be a multibillion dollar company. But we need good talent.’”

Mick climbed the ranks, becoming president of the Americas division. When it came time to find Peter’s replacement, the board hired executive search firm Spencer Stuart to lead the process, which zeroed in on Mick. The founding CEO recused himself from a final board vote, according to an article at the time in The Australian.

Reinvention

Mick highlighted the part of his resume with life sciences companies that reinvented themselves. He had the same in mind for ResMed.

A few years ago ResMed embedded cellular chips in all its devices, feeding data into the cloud. ResMed’s app myAir, when paired with a ResMed device, lets patients (and their physicians) track and manage sleep therapy.

ResMed offerings are aimed at lowering costs.

“The more they can increase patient adherence through some of these programs, the more they can take down operating costs, which ends up being a benefit to the system as a whole,” said Margaret Kaczor, an equity research analyst with William Blair.

In 2016, ResMed doubled down on digital by buying for $800 million Brightree, a cloud-based software provider. The company credits the move with driving growth. So do analysts.

“Brightree continues to innovate and allow for opportunities to increase revenue per customer,” said an April 2 research note from William Blair. “ResMed continues to actively innovate on the Brightree product offering, supporting our view of sustainable mid-teens growth in this business.”

Initially, the acquisition plan drew board scrutiny – and understandably so given the $800 million price tag. ResMed executives pitched it as a “reverse Amazon,” a hardware company embracing software.