Interview with Chris Ioannides, iMER Cyprus CEO

Chris Ioannides, iMER Cyprus CEOChris Ioannides is iMER Cyprus CEO for the last three years. We met Chris for a 4 eyes interview…

Chris joined iMER 3 years ago and he is leading our Cypriot subsidiary ever since to its successful position as a leading company in the medical services section.

Chris, please give us a view to your biography?

I was born in Feb 1963, raised in Cyprus & educated in US for both my Bachelor and my MBA. I was married in US in 1985 and worked there for a few years before returning back to Cyprus. I’ve worked mostly as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) consultant in the IT industry for several companies where I’ve gained valuable experience in leading multi-cultural project teams in countries from Hungary to Egypt. In 2002 I was presented with the challenge of founding the second private Cord Blood Bank in Europe and its success led me to be involved in the medical services sector since then.

I’ve been blessed with five lovely kids, 4 daughters and a son. The oldest is Jennifer, 22, John is 20, Melina is 17, Anastasia is 9 and the latest addition is princess Christina, 7 months.

Not all of us are fully aware to your unique business history and the company you run in Cyprus – can you tell us about it?

Initially I’ve worked for SMEs in Cyprus before joining PWC where I had the chance to get involved in consulting projects in several international corporations (e.g. Johnson Wax) and also leading projects for USAID in 3rd world countries. I joined iMER in July 2008 as its General Manager and recently was appointed its CEO. In these three years iMER has almost tripled its operations and is the most successful medical services company in the country, trusted by both patients looking for a solution to their medical problems and by the medical community seeking for academic level medical knowledge and support.

What’s your management philosophy?! How do you implement it?

My philosophy is “…nothing is impossible!” There is always a way to get things done. It’s just a matter to find the way at an affordable cost. This requires thinking outside the box as well as being open to your colleagues’ ideas & opinions. Also I believe that people are the most valuable asset and they should feel motivated and appreciated. Very important is also to cultivate loyalty among the employees.

Where is medical care going to? What will be iMER’s role in this future?

Medical care has a number of directions that organizations can choose. Home care is a fast growing sector especially now by using the latest technological advances. Remote Patient Monitoring is another direction where medical services companies can grow into. Telemedicine is also becoming more & more efficient and realistic with large savings and value for the patient and the Healthcare providers (by reducing overhead costs). Globalization offers medical services companies such as iMER great opportunities to exploit in a positive manner for the benefit of patients & doctors. iMER’s role in my view for the foreseeable future is to concentrate on what is called “Destination Healthcare”. This means partnering with more Centers of Excellence (such as the Hadassah university hospital) and slowly becoming a global player in this sector. This of course can be achieved either by internal growth slowly or by merging with others and achieving growth much faster.

Please give us your iMER D.N.A from your perspective?

I think what sets iMER apart from other players in the medical services segment is the combined Service and marketing model. Most medical services companies concentrate on the Sales aspect & leaving the Service aspect to the families or to the international patient office of the hospital. Unfortunately most international patient offices are not service oriented ignoring patients cultural differences & needs which many times goes beyond medical services. iMER is always there for the patient and his/her family in their country of origin, during the patient’s treatment at their hospital of choice and of course afterwards for anything further that they might need once treatment is finalized.

Tell us one of your iMER stories and experience that will demonstrate your role.

The most interesting stories are probably Air Evacuation transfers for children and babies. There is one case I’ll never forget. I received a call from a father of a 10 y/o boy that went in a coma with his lungs collapsed. The doctors told the parents that their child had only a few hours to live. Immediately we gathered all medical material, spoke with our medical team to set up the right academic medical experts for such case, and brought two specialists by Air Ambulance to the kid bed. The specialists said that there was nothing that could be done locally and that the boy’s only chance was to connect him to a special machine called “ECMO” and transfer him with the machine to the pediatric hospital in Israel. Because of the size of the machine I had to arrange for a larger air ambulance, bring it to Cyprus, having the doctors operate on the child here and connect him to this machine before transferring him to Israel. All of the above happened in less than 12 hours. Two weeks later his lungs started working again!

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Hopefully in the same role but instead of running iMER Cyprus running iMER globally.

As a finish to this interview – please reply with the 1st. thing comes to your mind –

  • Three things we do not know about you:
  • – I used to have two German Shepherds

    – I lived in Hungary for one year

    – I love to ride a Chopper.

  • Your hobbies: playing Squash & Scuba Diving
  • My children are the most important part in my life.
  • God is always there for me & I sincerely believe this.
  • I love my grandmother’s cooking.
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