The IMA Global Board of Directors announced Christian’s nomination on January 12, 2018, and members had 30 days after that to nominate other candidates. At the end of the 30-day period, a unanimous vote was cast, so Christian will become the new Chair-Elect July 1, 2018. As Chair-Elect, he will be a member of the Governance Committee and will chair IMA’s Planning and Development Committee.
VP of finance at Johnson & Johnson Vision Surgical
Santa Ana, Calif.
Marketing at BASF
Surfing, flying, and spending time with his family at the beach
During high school, he learned how to make and sell surfboards
Christian is currently the vice president of finance at Johnson & Johnson Vision Surgical in Santa Ana, Calif. He’s spent 14 years at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), holding positions of increasing responsibility both internationally and in the United States.
Christian’s professional journey has led him all over the world, but he’s back to where he started: in the Golden State. Christian grew up and went to high school in Santa Cruz, Calif., near San Francisco. After graduation, he enrolled at San Diego State University to pursue his interest in international business.
In his junior year, Christian had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He said, “This was in 1994, just a few years after the Berlin Wall fell, and there was lots of focus on what was going on in East Germany. It happened to coincide perfectly with my growing fascination with international business.”
It was a yearlong program, requiring Christian to pass written and spoken language tests before he was selected. The experience introduced him to Germany’s culture and business practices; it also helped make him fluent in German.
After earning a B.A. degree in international business, Christian decided to use his experience abroad to work for a German company. For his first professional position, he joined a rotational program in the marketing department of BASF Chemical Company, which required him to relocate to New Jersey. He spent three years there, then did a six-month stint in Germany.
Upon his return to the U.S., Christian moved back to Northern California and took a marketing position in the semiconductor division of Sony Electronics. “This was during the dot-com boom, and there were incredible opportunities in Silicon Valley,” he explained. He spent five years at Sony and, at the same time, decided to pursue his MBA at the University of San Francisco.
The dot-com bust hit just as Christian was completing his degree, and, fortunately for him, Johnson & Johnson was hiring in its finance department and recruiting. Christian was one of a number of MBA graduates hired by Johnson & Johnson that year.
Christian started his career at Johnson & Johnson in 2004 as a business analyst at LifeScan. During his second year at J&J, Christian was encouraged to start pursuing his CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. “J&J has always been a longtime supporter of the CMA, and certification is definitely seen as a way to advance at the company,” he recalled. He passed the exam, fulfilled the experience requirement, and earned his certification in 2005.
In 2007, he was promoted to finance director in the Medical Devices segment, relocating with his family to Zug, Switzerland. During his five years there, working alongside IMA staff member Nina Michels-Kim, Christian helped establish the IMA Swiss Chapter. He became involved and served as treasurer and president of the chapter. Christian recalled, “It was an exciting experience creating something for the first time and to see the impact of IMA and the CMA on people’s careers.”
That experience helped spark Christian’s interest in getting involved in IMA at a more global level. While in Switzerland, he was encouraged to seek out a position on the IMA Global Board of Directors, which he has been a part of since 2012.
That same year, Christian repatriated to the U.S. to take the role of senior director, finance, of Global Surgery innovation, splitting his time between J&J’s Somerville, N.J., site and the New Brunswick, N.J., headquarters. In this position, he provided financial leadership to the research and development and new business development organization of the Global Surgery Group of Medical Devices & Diagnostics.
Christian was back in the U.S. for only three years before he was tapped to serve as the head of finance for Janssen Canada, the largest pharmaceutical company in Canada, located in Toronto. In this role, he was the leader of the division’s shared services organization as well as the person responsible for all financial management aspects of the division’s business.
In February 2017, Christian finally made it back to California to assume the role he currently holds as vice president of finance and CFO for Vision Surgical, which manufactures and sells ophthalmic products in three areas of patient care: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery, and dry eye. Christian resides in Southern California with his wife and three children.
During his time of service on the IMA Board, Christian has been involved in several committees, including chairing the Member Relations Committee and serving as a member of the Governance, Planning and Development, and Nominating Committees.
On his vision (pardon the pun) for IMA as he assumes the role of Chair-Elect, Christian observed, “We’re the only certification that is creating a truly global standard. The CPA can’t say that. We’re not about just one jurisdiction or single set of standards, but, with our CMA certification and role of advancing the management accounting profession, we’re about creating a standard of excellence that knows no boundaries. Business today is global and so, too, is IMA.”
Notice of IMA Annual Meeting
To members of the Institute of Management Accountants:
Notice is hereby given to all IMA members that the Annual Meeting of IMA will be held on Sunday, June 17, 2018, at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Ind., to conduct such business as may properly come before the meeting.