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Our Management Team
Jan Merker, Chief Operating Officer, COO
Jan Merker has held the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Brainlab since 2017. As COO, he is responsible for managing corporate operations and strategy to facilitate the consistent, profitable and efficient growth of the company. On the whole, Jan strives to strengthen the company’s path toward the future while managing people, processes and sustainable organizational development.
At Brainlab, Jan oversees the strategic growth of the robotics, image guided surgery and digital healthcare areas of business. Having worked for years in operations and general management, Jan leverages his expertise to successfully establish a sustainable foundation on which the supply chain, human resources, service & support and IT departments can grow.
Digitalization remains a top priority for Brainlab. As such, part of Jan’s efforts at the company are to strengthen internal and external digital development, particularly as it relates to products and service offerings. For his work with the human resources department, he is focused on establishing an employee-oriented management model. This approach is characterized by guaranteeing employees have access to the right tools, resources and support they need. This management model also promotes a high-performance culture and integrates the baseline concept that managers should be highly motivated to support their employees in succeeding.
In general, Jan is driven to secure sustainability for all departments and to position Brainlab as an attractive employer. He draws his professional motivation from working for a leading medtech company with pioneering technologies that make a difference for doctors and patients.
Jan holds a degree in industrial engineering and business administration from the University of Applied Sciences Karlsruhe – Technology und Economy. Prior to joining Brainlab, Merker served as Chief Operating Officer at Swedish medtech company, MAQUET Group, a subsidiary of GETINGE Group. Before this he held various management positions.
Stefan Vilsmeier, Chief Executive Officer, CEO
Since founding Brainlab in 1989, Stefan Vilsmeier (born 1967) has served as its CEO and has been the driving force behind the company’s innovation and customer focus. A self-taught computer programmer, Vilsmeier prepared the ground for his enterprise at the age of 17 when he wrote a book on 3D Graphics. With more than 50,000 copies sold, it turned into a bestseller in its category.
In 1989, Vilsmeier enrolled at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, to study Computer Programming and nature and burgeoning business in computer-assisted medical technology left little time for theory. While still in the first semester, Vilsmeier founded Brainlab GmbH from the proceeds of his book. During the following years, Stefan Vilsmeier spearheaded new developments in the area of neuro-navigation and radiotherapy.
With hospitals in Asia, North America and South Africa as some of its first customers, Brainlab has been an international company from the very beginning. Today, Brainlab generates more than 40 percent of its revenues in the US and has strategic partnerships with some of the world’s leading healthcare companies.
Vilsmeier has evolved the company’s vision beyond software solutions for medical treatments that are more precise, Brainlab is now able to bring entire medical centers to a new level of integration and patient care by providing the infrastructure and support for state-of-the-art access and management of digital medical information.
Connecting advanced diagnostic and surgical technology, this Intelligent Treatment Framework enables physicians to manage and select the right data necessary for better informed medical decisions at their discretion, at any desired time and place.
From diagnostics through treatment, Brainlab solutions better leverage medical expertise and advanced technology, transforming knowledge into superior patient outcomes.
For his outstanding contributions to economic growth and achievements as an entrepreneurial role model, Stefan Vilsmeier has been honored with several awards. In December 2002, the World Economic Forum (WEF) selected him as one of their ‘Global Leaders for Tomorrow 2003’. In the same year, Ernst & Young, a provider of Management Consulting and IT Services, honored him with the title of ‘World Entrepreneur of the Year 2002’ after he had already been awarded the national title in 2001.
At the Bavarian Innovation Awards in 2000, Vilsmeier was the only nominee to receive a special award for innovative leadership methods and marketing concepts. Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber also presented him with the highest decoration of the State of Bavaria. Vilsmeier was the youngest recipient.
In 2018 he was appointed to the advisory board for SME of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as well as the German Chancellor’s Innovation Dialogue.
Rainer Birkenbach, Chief Technology Officer, CTO
Rainer Birkenbach is the Chief Technology Officer at Brainlab AG. He was appointed to this position in 1998 and has since been responsible for Research & Development as well as Quality Management at the company. In this role, Birkenbach oversees the ongoing strategic development of both existing and new technologies and products. He also manages quality assurance for the international market approval of Brainlab medical products.
Birkenbach’s core work focuses on actively connecting with primary Brainlab customers—clinicians, healthcare providers and patients. Through direct contact and collaboration with end users, he has been able to transform ideas and unmet medical needs into tangible solutions. Birkenbach’s goal is to enhance and expand existing technologies and develop the next generation of innovative medical products that support doctors and patients in the fight against cancer and a range of other diseases.
Prior to studying electrical engineering at the Saarland University of Applied Sciences, Birkenbach was a Red Cross volunteer which laid the foundation for his future career in medical technology. Building on top of that initial exposure to healthcare, during his time at university, Birkenbach met a neurosurgeon who helped him discover his interest in, and enthusiasm for, combining software and medicine to make an impact for patients.
Following the completion of his Master of Science, Birkenbach first worked for Deutsche Telekom before joining Brainlab as a software developer in 1994. Two years later, he was appointed Director of Research & Development, a position he held until 1997.
During his 25+ year tenure at Brainlab, Birkenbach has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth by leveraging his vision and passion for new, emerging technologies as well as sharing his commitment to team spirit and a collaborative company culture. As part of his efforts to inspire future innovators, Birkenbach has worked closely with many universities and is often a guest lecturer at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
At Brainlab, we digitize medical workflows, from diagnosis to therapy, to offer clinicians and patients better treatment possibilities. Our innovative digital ecosystem forms the basis for modern healthcare technology in 6300 hospitals in 120 countries. At the forefront of health technology for over 30 years, Munich-based Brainlab employs around 2200 people with expertise across the entire healthcare value chain in 25 locations worldwide.
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At Brainlab, we digitize medical workflows from diagnosis to therapy, and our innovative ecosystem forms the basis for modern healthcare technology. We help healthcare providers build three-dimensional patient-specific models with data that is structured, mapped and aggregated with industry-leading artificial intelligence. This builds the basis of our navigation system for the human body, clinicians can safely remove brain tumors, place screws in the spine precisely, and irradiate breast tumors with millimetric precision.
Our robotics and mixed reality technologies and expertise allow users to connect and innovate between the digital and physical worlds. In addition, Brainlab technologies power the collection of structured long-term data and medical registries. Through the neuroscience of play, Brainlab advances clinical training and education, promoting the adaptation to technological advances and creating digital models of complete interventions. Our digital ecosystem is an open interface and forms a framework for third parties to accelerate innovation in other clinical areas as well.
Brainlab systems are established in around 6300 hospitals in 120 countries to offer doctors and patients better treatment possibilities. At the forefront of health technology for over 30 years, the company headquarters are in Munich, and we employ around 2200 people of 85 nationalities in 25 locations.
For more information, visit Brainlab or follow us on LinkedIn , Twitter , Facebook and Instagram .
Brainlab at a Glance
“Over the past 30 years, Brainlab has always had one goal: to improve medical care and the quality of life of as many patients as possible.”
- Founded in Munich in 1989
- Core business: medical software solutions for oncology, neurosurgery, spine, ENT, maxillofacial and trauma surgery
- Around 6300 hospitals use Brainlab software
- Around 14500 systems installed worldwide
- Approximately 7500 neurosurgical systems installed
- Customers in 120 countries
- Around 2200 employees of 85 different nationalities
- Around 900 employees at the company’s headquarters in Munich
- Approximately 800 engineers in research and development
- Approximately 440 customer service representatives
- 25 locations worldwide including Paris, Madrid, Milan, Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo, Chicago, Melbourne, Seoul, Dubai, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Munich
- Head office and production in Munich
(Updated March 2023 for FY 2023)
Head of Communication & PR
Phone: +49 89 99 1568 0
Mail: [email protected]
Executive Vice President Marketing & Digital
Phone: +49 89 99 1568 0
Mail: [email protected]
Director Marketing, US
Phone: +1 708 409 1343
Mail: [email protected]