Date posted: 7/10/2020 5 min read

Difference makers of 2020: Brett Sandercock CA

As CFO of medical equipment company ResMed, Brett Sandercock CA had to move as fast as COVID-19 itself when the pandemic hit.

In Brief

  • As CFO, Brett Sandercock CA oversaw a tripling of ResMed’s shifts and supplies to meet demand for its life-saving ventilators.
  • He describes the experience as like being in “a whirlwind”.
  • He is also chairman of Osteopore, which is developing implants to assist bone regeneration.

By Stephen Corby

Helping to save the world, or at least the people in it, is “extremely hectic” work, according to Brett Sandercock CA. But at least you can do it wearing ugg boots.

While many businesses have floundered or failed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the globe-spanning medical equipment company Sandercock works for was forced to move almost as fast as the virus itself, ramping up the production of life-saving ventilators.

ResMed tripled its shifts

“There was so much we had to do, in terms of manufacturing, getting up to three times the normal production of ventilators, which added up to 150,000 units in six months,” explains Sydney-based Sandercock, who ordinarily spends two to three months each year at ResMed’s overseas offices.

“Going from one shift to three shifts a day, sourcing parts. It was a matter of trying to get them made and get them out to patients as fast as possible,” he says.

“It’s been a little bit surreal and very humbling, because you’re in the thick of it – you’re in this whirlwind. But the whole team and the whole company is driven by the mission, which is to help as many people as possible.”

Brett Sandercock CAPicture: Brett Sandercock CA.

“The whole team and the whole company is driven by the mission, which is to help as many people as possible.”
Brett Sandercock CA

Burnout is a real danger

While working from home has enabled Sandercock to take a more relaxed attitude to his dress code, he has come to worry about the potential for burnout.

“Productivity is up and people are working harder than ever, but you’ve got to be really careful about burnout – that lack of delineation between work and home,” he says.

“I’m lucky that I have the space, but what about people in one-bedroom apartments, or those with young children? We’ve done our best to try to accommodate people.”

He does worry about the longer term impact. ResMed is highly innovative and relies on research and development to maintain its competitive advantage.

“Collaboration is crucial,” he says. “How do you onboard new people and make them a part of the strong culture that you’ve got, without ever meeting them face to face?”

 

The advantage of being a CA

Sandercock became a CA in 1990 and believes it provided a solid foundation for his career. “This network has been valuable to me – as a source of advice and mentoring, for the hiring of talented individuals and, indeed, for lifelong friendships.”

He encourages young CAs to have a positive mindset and natural curiosity. It’s certainly served Sandercock well – somehow, in the midst of the busiest working year of his life, he has found time to maintain another role, as non-executive chairman of Osteopore.

The ASX-listed company has created a “bioresorbable” substance that can be 3D-printed and used to create implants that assist with bone regeneration.

“It’s a company that can really help people by reducing the risk of infection, and it has global market opportunities. I’m just keen to help them, in my own little way, however I can,” he says.

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