John (Jack) L. Sullivan has been the CSO of Boston Scientific (BSC) since 2017. He is responsible for managing the physical safety of all BSC facilities, spanning 130 countries. This includes crisis protocol and response, business continuity and safeguarding the research and development and intellectual property behind the 13,000 devices manufactured by BSC. Previously, Sullivan was the CSO of Starbucks and the Director of Corporate Security and Loss Prevention for Dunkin’ Brands.
Sullivan spent 10 years with the U.S. Marines prior to becoming a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
“Often, security professionals don’t receive the credit they deserve for their work – simply because success is measured in non-events,” Sullivan says. “It all comes down to having the right focus and concentrating on what it takes to be successful, rather than trying to be successful. Instead of focusing on the next promotion and departmental goals, I advise younger professionals to make development and learning a priority, focus on progress – rather than results, and prioritize people over tasks.”
Sullivan has learned to view his role as one that is integral to business performance. “Focusing on playing corporate cop – catching the ‘bad guys’ and putting up walls, will limit a person’s integration with the business, and their performance,” he says. “The sooner we acknowledge security as a core pillar of strong business performance and that working with – not against – other departments, the easier it becomes to execute and demonstrate our value. Finally, assume good intent. Security may be top of mind for those in the industry, but that is not the case for our colleagues. Don’t assume people are maliciously trying to bend the rules. Take the opportunity to educate and collaborate. Collaboration is paramount in creating a safe workplace.”
Sullivan is proud of his team at Boston Scientific. “We work together and operate with a ‘get-it-done’ attitude. A perfect example is the team’s response in Dorado, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Within 24 hours, we had a team on the ground, which greatly helped our Puerto Rico facility get back online and running. More importantly, the same team provided generators and made sure everyone had access to food, water and housing. Our job is to keep the company safe, and that means providing for our people.”
Sullivan is also proud to be a U.S. Marine. “The focus and discipline I learned as a Marine gave me the edge I needed to be successful. When I was younger, I struggled academically. Through the improved focus and discipline, I acquired as a Marine, I went from college dropout to college valedictorian. I now have master’s degrees from Harvard and MIT. I owe this success to the Marines.”