Extraordinary Growth

One senior leader during this growth period told and retold a famous story about a fellow sales rep who, in 1979, had received a bonus of $5000 for his excellent results. He was debating what to do with the money—install a swimming pool at his home or invest in Stryker at the IPO? He decided to install the swimming pool. By 2004, the rep could only look upon the pool and lament that at $3.25 million, it was the most expensive backyard pool in the country. Few, if any, publicly traded stocks during any 25-year period have equaled those returns. The company grew from less than $20M in annual sales of stretchers, cast cutters, and wedge-turning frames into a $4 billion medical-device powerhouse, with products from orthopedic implants to surgical instruments, endoscopic equipment, hospital beds, and EMS ambulance stretchers.