From America's top Coca-Cola salesman to pioneer of Greater Manchester's healthcare sector

14 Aug 2015

Duane Lawrence, EMIS Health's managing director of secondary care, shares his story with the Manchester Evening News in an NHS feature article.

Duane Lawrence gave up a position as America’s top Coca-Cola salesman – and a shiny red Porsche – to take his first job in the healthcare sector. Today he leads a Bolton-based healthcare software business that already serves as a beacon of what the Northern Powerhouse initiative could achieve. A respected IT executive with 25 years’ healthcare experience, in February Lawrence became secondary care managing director of EMIS Health – previously known as Ascribe.

With dual US and UK citizenship, Lawrence has worked in healthcare organisations across both countries and joined EMIS Group from London-based InferMed Limited (now part of Elsevier International), where he was Chief Executive. Before that he was General Manager for Misys PLC’s International Healthcare Division.

He originally came to the UK 12 years ago on a temporary two-year overseas assignment with his wife and four young children. The family decided to stay because they loved it here. But his early experience as a Territory Sales Manager with Coca Cola in 1980s America still serves him well.

“My first job straight out of university in the United States involved convincing bars and restaurants to switch from selling draught Pepsi to Coca-Cola,” he explains. “In my first year at Coca-Cola, I converted more outlets than anyone else in the United States. I can’t recall exactly how many there were but it was in the hundreds. For my efforts they gave me a shiny red Porsche to drive for a year. I was only 22 and I was having huge fun." 

“I wanted to do something that was going to make a difference.”

Duane Lawrence, EMIS Health, managing director secondary care

“However, I left that job and handed back the Porsche six months early to join a healthcare company. I wanted to do something that was going to make a difference. What I learned is that the best salesperson asks the right questions and is an attentive and ‘real’ listener who puts themselves in the position of the individual they are talking to. They must deeply understand what is truly important to their customer and be able to deliver it.”

By listening to what his colleagues in the NHS require from EMIS Health, Lawrence is keen to build on the work being done across the AIM-listed EMIS Group.

You can read the full article on the Manchester Evening News website.