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Agilent names veteran exec. McDonnell as next CEO

Katie Tabeling
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Padraig McDonnell | PHOTO COURTESY OF AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES

WILMINGTON — Padraig McDonnell, a longtime Agilent Technologies executive and a veteran of the scientific-instrument industry, has been named as the next CEO of Agilent.

Currently the president of Agilent CrossLab Group, McDonnell has roots in the company dating back to the company’s predecessor Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1998. He was instrumental in driving service and sales growth in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. 

He will succeed the current President and CEO Mike McMullen, who is retiring after 40 years with the company.  McDonnell will start in the job on May 1.

Over the years, McDonnell rose through the company’s ranks from customer engineer to various management and leadership roles, including in his home country Ireland. McDonnell later moved to the First State and worked out of the Delaware offices.

“Delaware is close to my heart. When I moved from Ireland, it was the first  U.S. state I lived in and I spent several years there raising my family while working with the talented Agilent team,” McDonnell told the Delaware Business Times. “Delaware is an incredibly dynamic area for our industry, and I’m especially excited about our recent investments in the state and the value they will deliver to our customers.” 

McDonnell, 52, has been president of Agilent CrossLab Group since May 2020 and was also named chief commercial officer in November 2021.

Agilent is a global leader in analytical and clinical laboratory technologies,ranging from instruments, software, services and expertise. With 18,000 employees worldwide, Agilent is one of Delaware’s top 50 employers with 1,000 employees out of its Little Falls campus and the Newport manufacturing site. 

The Delaware operations focus on the $37 billion, publicly traded company’s chemical analysis business.

Agilent Board of Directors Chairman Koh Boon Hwee noted that McDonnell ascends to the top job at an opportune time, as the outgoing leadership was “handing the reins at a time of strength.”

“After a thorough succession process, I’m pleased that Padraig McDonnell has been selected as Agilent’s next CEO. This is a clear illustration of the quality and depth of the Agilent team,” Hwee said in a prepared statement. “Padraig has been a success in every role he’s held at Agilent. I’m confident that as Agilent’s next CEO, he will continue that record of success and build on the many achievements that have been attained during Mike McMullen’s nine years as CEO.”

McMullen, 63, has served as Agilent’s CEO since 2015, and spent about 40 years with the company and Hewlett-Packard Co. Before he became CEO, he served as president of the company’s Chemical Analysis Group for five years.

During his time at the helm, McMullen led Agilent’s transformation into a leading life-sciences and diagnostics company after the company spun off its electronic measurement business into Keysight Technologies. 

Agilent’s market capitalization has tripled during McMullen’s leadership. Today, the company is valued at $42.9 billion.

“My career with Agilent has been truly special,” McMullen said in a prepared statement. “Our mission of advancing the quality of life combined with an outstanding company culture, an incredibly talented team, and our ongoing record of success, are all I could’ve ever asked for during my time with this great company.”

Agilent is phasing in the leadership transition, so McMullen will advise McDonnell until October. Next steps for McDonnell include reinforcing the company’s customer-first approach and continuing to improve performance and find new growth opportunities.

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