Five Questions with Waters’ New President and CEO, Udit Batra
On September 1, 2020, Udit Batra became Waters’ President and CEO. Udit brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Waters, having previously held executive positions at Novartis and Merck KGaA. Most recently, he served as the CEO of MilliporeSigma, the life science tools business at Merck KGaA. We caught up with Udit during this busy time to ask him a few questions.
Q: Welcome to Waters! What excited you about this opportunity?
There are many things that excite me about joining Waters. First, I’m an engineer and used TA’s TGA, DSC, DMAs as early as the fall of my second year as a chemical engineering student at the University of Delaware. So, I have a long history with Waters and am thrilled to join. Second, Waters is a leader in technology development for analytical instruments and has one of the strongest financial profiles in the industry. Last, it’s the opportunity to work alongside the scientific community, helping to fulfill an important need as we continue to navigate this global pandemic and beyond. I believe that a collaborative approach will be more important than ever, and Waters can help to understand why vaccines and treatments behave the way they do and to assure their safety, which requires a deep understanding of the molecular structure. Analytical instruments give us that aperture, and today, that is essential.
Q: Can you talk more about the importance of collaboration?
While competence in individual fields is essential to make advances, true insight comes from diverse perspectives. Collaborating with others who look at the same data and the same problem, yet through a different lens, often solve problems faster.
For example, in my graduate school days I remember being stuck with a theoretical math problem for over two months. Then during lunch with a friend, she mentioned a different approach. I applied her approach and solved a problem that had troubled theoreticians for five decades. She just looked at the same problem differently.
I have already interacted with members of Waters’ COVID-19 Innovation Response Team and I am certain that with our collaborative and cross-functional approach to fundamental challenges, we will make significant progress.
As a health and life sciences industry, there are three areas that we will need to collaborate on and develop globally as a result of the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Build an open, fast and reliable global surveillance system that shares data on emerging pathogens and transmission
- Develop the infrastructure to produce PPE, treatments, vaccines and the necessary public health capacity for hospitals, medical staff and the like to combat any emerging and rapidly evolving infectious disease
- Incentivize new approaches to nurture innovation across diagnostics, treatments and vaccines on an ongoing basis
Q: What is your personal approach to collaborating with colleagues?
First and foremost, I love science and technology and feel blessed to have learned from many great scientists and engineers throughout my career. I know that will continue at Waters.
I believe that all collaboration starts with transparency. It is imperative to bring people together, put everything out on the table and be open and honest about what we know and what we don’t. By taking time to educate one another, you begin to develop a common understanding of the facts.
Once you have that common understanding, it becomes easier to interpret what the organizational needs are and how to best address them. From there, you can determine your future direction and vision. Then, it is all about relentless execution to accomplish that vision together.
Q: Can you talk about the important role that your family has played in your success?
Both my parents are teachers and they passed the value of education down to me. To this day, my father is the driver of my resilience and my mother guides me to continuously develop and demonstrate compassion.
My wife is my Co-CEO, and she shares my passion for education and philanthropy and is with me every step of the way – be it personal or professional. I am blessed to also learn from my kids, who navigate seamlessly through change and make every day enterprising. We have two boys – one teenage and another soon to be so. For them, entropy is normal. Together, they all provide me with an amazing foundation, which I am truly blessed to have.
Q: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
I am very excited to get started. As someone who studied chemical engineering and did research in a lab for over a decade, I can’t wait to get reacquainted with the Waters and TA innovations that help us better understand the structure of molecules or the physical properties of suspensions.
I still have much to learn about Waters’ history, culture and business. Over the next several months, I expect to spend a significant amount of time reading, asking questions and, of course, collaborating with new colleagues. This is just the beginning of what I’m sure will be an incredible journey.
Thank you Udit, and welcome to Waters!