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."