PE-backed Performance Health taps George as CEO

Warrenville, Illinois-based Performance Health, a maker of products for the rehabilitation, physical therapy and sports medicine markets, has named Jeff George as CEO. Also, Harry Kraemer, a former chairman and CEO of Baxter International, has been appointed chairman of Performance Health’s board. Performance Health is a portfolio company of Madison Dearborn Partners.


WARRENVILLE, Ill., Feb. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Performance Health, a leader in consumer healthcare and the largest global manufacturer and distributor of products to the rehabilitation, physical therapy, and sports medicine markets, announced today that it has appointed Jeff George as its Chief Executive Officer. He succeeds Mike Orscheln. In addition, current Performance Health Board Member and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Baxter International, Harry Kraemer, has become Chairman of the Board. Both appointments are effective immediately.

“Jeff George is a highly skilled and effective leader who will augment and inspire our strong executive team as we continue on a path to sustainable growth through improved operations and customer service,” said Tim Sullivan, Performance Health Board Member and Managing Director of Madison Dearborn Partners, which holds a majority ownership position in Performance Health. “The Board and I are confident that Jeff will be able to harness the company’s product innovation and improved customer service and capture the numerous opportunities presented by the company’s existing and newly established customer growth channels.”

“This is an exciting time in Performance Health’s march toward a very bright future, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to lend my expertise and perspective to Jeff and the very talented leaders at the company,” said Mr. Kraemer. “Jeff is someone who knows how to motivate people toward achieving a common goal and I’m looking forward to supporting him as he drives continued growth, innovation, and customer focus across all industry segments at Performance Health.”

Most recently, Mr. George served on the Novartis Group Executive Committee from 2008 to 2016, first as the divisional CEO of Sandoz, where he created a winning, high-performance culture that grew sales by $1.7 billion to $9.2 billion across more than 160 countries, and then as the divisional CEO of Alcon, Novartis’s then $10 billion eye care subsidiary, where he and his team accelerated innovation and architected its turnaround. Prior to this, he was Head of Emerging Markets at Novartis Pharmaceuticals for the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and CIS, after serving as Vice President and Head of Western & Eastern Europe for Novartis Vaccines. Before joining Novartis, Mr. George was Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development at Gap Inc., and prior to that he was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company in San Francisco. Mr. George holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a BA in international relations from Carleton College. He serves on the Board of Directors of Roam Analytics, a Stanford University- and venture capital-backed machine learning and artificial intelligence healthcare data analytics firm based in Silicon Valley.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the talented team at Performance Health. I strongly believe in the company’s mission to provide products that improve people’s lives, and there are great opportunities before us to accelerate growth and innovation across our markets,” said Mr. George. “Performance Health’s commitment to its purpose has enabled it to develop longstanding customer and supplier relationships, unmatched scale, and market-leading brands that help consumers and patients live their lives and perform better. Combined with a talented team of employees, these attributes will advance our position as the leader across our clinical, retail, and international segments. I look forward to working with the whole Performance Health organization to deliver for our customers, patients, and consumers and enable us to achieve great things together.”

“We thank Mike Orscheln for his contributions and wish him well,” continued Mr. Sullivan. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thorough evaluation process that we think has yielded the right person to lead Performance Health at this stage of its growth.”

About Performance Health
Headquartered in Warrenville, Illinois, with significant operations in Akron, Ohio, Performance Health is a leader in consumer healthcare and the largest global manufacturer and distributor of products to the rehabilitation, physical therapy, and sports medicine markets. The company’s products are sold to leading healthcare facilities and practitioners such as physical therapists, athletic trainers, and chiropractors, and direct to consumers across all key brick-and-mortar and online retail channels. Its market-leading brands include Biofreeze, TheraBand, TheraPearl, Cramer, Sammons Preston and Roylan. More information is available at

About Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC
Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (MDP), based in Chicago, is a leading private equity investment firm in the United States. Since MDP’s formation in 1992, the firm has raised seven funds with aggregate capital of approximately $23 billion and has completed approximately 130 investments. MDP is currently investing out of its most recent fund, $4.4 billion MDCP Fund VII, in businesses across a broad spectrum of industries, including health care; basic industries; business and government services; financial and transaction services; and telecom, media and technology (TMT) services. For more information, please visit