Woman of the Year EMEA Highly Commended: Brigitta Kocherhans, Siemens Healthineers AG

Published: Jul 2023

Brigitta Kocherhans

Head of Treasury

Siemens Healthineers AG (listed in Frankfurt, Germany: SHL) pioneers breakthroughs in healthcare. For everyone. Everywhere. As a leading medical technology company headquartered in Erlangen, Germany, Siemens Healthineers and its regional companies are continuously developing their product and service portfolio, with artificial intelligence-supported applications and digital offerings that play an increasingly important role in the next generation of medical technology. These new applications will enhance the company’s foundation in in-vitro diagnostics, image-guided therapy, in-vivo diagnostics, and innovative cancer care. Siemens Healthineers also provides a range of services and solutions to enhance healthcare providers’ ability to provide high-quality, efficient care. In fiscal 2022, which ended on 30th September 2022, Siemens Healthineers, which has approximately 69,500 employees worldwide, generated revenue of around €21.7bn and adjusted EBIT of almost €3.7bn. Further information is available at www.siemens-healthineers.com

Winning together

Brigitta Kocherhans joined Siemens Healthineers as Head of Treasury in 2015, when the treasury team comprised just four employees. Under her leadership, that number has grown to more than 100, split equally between men and women on a global level. It has taken time to achieve that level of diversity, however – in 2017, just 17% of the team were female.

She cites building the treasury team as one of her biggest professional achievements. This is a task she approached by instilling a culture where every individual feels they belong and where she sought to create a space for all people and cultures to thrive. Brigitta is convinced that valuing the diversity of employees leads to a company’s economic success. Other characteristics that also define her treasury operation, such as the trust she places in the capabilities of her employees, are indicative of her belief in empowering employees by providing guidance and allowing them to explore, grow and innovate.

Her bywords are trust and to always be yourself; she prioritises her team and sees herself as a team member before a team leader. “I owe a big part of my accomplishments to our outstanding global Siemens Healthineers treasury team. Their continuous support and collaboration have been instrumental in my success. I am truly grateful for the commitment they bring to our shared journey each day. This would not have been possible without them.”

Talent attraction and retention under Brigitta’s leadership has led to Siemens Healthineers receiving the Treasury of the Year Award in 2022. Overall, Siemens Healthineers accomplished “Great Place to Work” certification in various countries. In this vein of talent development, Brigitta is a mentor in development programmes across the company where she guides and inspires younger professionals, equipping them with the necessary skillsets and knowledge. By empowering the next generation of treasury leaders, she has become an inspiring model for many at Siemens Healthineers, and people she has mentored are now visibly thriving within the company and beyond.

The Woman of the Year award is presented to those who see the value of treasury and of female leadership inside and outside of their organisations. Brigitta is involved in the United Nations children’s charity UNICEF, where she is particularly focused on supporting its treasury and pension function. Brigitta also takes proactive steps to encourage her employees to participate in groups that promote diversity. For example, one of Brigitta’s direct reports is part of a group that shapes the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives of Siemens Healthineers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. One instance is the recently organised company DE&I awareness week, which addressed culture, gender, disability, PRIDE and age diversity.

“Winning the Women of the Year Award is an incredible achievement that fills me with pride and gratitude. This recognition not only acknowledges my individual accomplishments but also highlights the efforts and support of my exceptional team. It motivates me to continue leading with passion, fostering diversity and inclusivity, and driving innovation and success at Siemens Healthineers Treasury.”

Rising up the ranks

Brigitta was noticed as a rising talent at Siemens early on in her career, singled out for her skills and expertise in various finance-related roles across the group’s European and U.S. operations. Between 2007 and 2011, she was Head of Corporate Pensions at Siemens Financial Services GmbH, responsible for all aspects of the corporate pension and developing a global investment strategy. Following this came another three-year period in the greater NY/NJ area as CFO at Siemens Financial Services Inc. and CFO of Energy Financing.

Perhaps the most pivotal point in her career came in November 2015 when she took over as Head of Treasury at what is now Siemens Healthineers. One of her key tasks in this role has been rolling out a digitisation programme. Other milestones include being involved in the company’s initial public offering in spring of 2018. This was followed by treasury taking a leading role in financing the US$16.4bn acquisition of the U.S. cancer-care company Varian in spring of 2021, the biggest medical acquisition of the year globally.

More recently, she has been involved in the “Treasury for Future” project, which has involved introducing new liquidity planning with AI, establishing guarantee and letter of credit tools with end-to-end processing, setting up a treasury management system and taking over services in pension management. “Our treasury is transforming itself from simply processing transactions to becoming a partner for business. I can support it in this process and actively shape the transformation,” she says.

Brigitta’s treasury philosophy is defined by her belief that if you’re good at whatever you do, and have a tiny bit of luck, you will succeed. She also advocates the importance of balance. For her, relaxation comes through hiking.

Brigitta’s path in a male-dominated field has been challenging, especially at the beginning of her career. Today, she is one of just a few women in treasury leadership positions in Germany’s blue-chip DAX index, and she is well known as an influential treasury leader and for her global network.

Elsewhere, she counsels on the importance of helping each other, being brave, responsible and independent. Her leadership style embodies the motto she learned in the United States: Fall down, get up, continue. “We own it, we learn passionately, and we win together,” she says.

Brigitta’s commitment to equality and inclusion, her success in shaping treasury at Siemens Healthineers and the powerful endorsement she receives from colleagues make her a worthy Highly Commended Winner of our 2023 Woman of the Year Award – EMEA.

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