Keith R. Cienkus
School of Business Commencement Address
Division Vice President of Global Operations, Abbott Laboratories
Keith Cienkus (BS ’89, MBA ’95) assumed his current role as division vice president of global operations for Abbott Laboratories Diagnostics Division in 2013. He is responsible for procurement, logistics, and a global multisite organization for the manufacture of diagnostic lab instruments and laboratory tests. He joined Abbott in 1989 and has over 26 years of experience there in the diagnostics business. At Abbott, he has held several leadership roles across departments including research and development, quality, engineering, and operations.
Over the course of his Abbott career, Cienkus’s work has taken him to Sligo, Ireland, and Dallas, Texas, in addition to headquarters outside Chicago. He plays a key role on the leadership team that has transformed the diagnostics division into one of Abbott’s highest performing businesses, with a strong focus on operational productivity, product quality, and product development.
For more than 125 years, Abbott has brought new products and technologies to the world—in nutrition, diagnostics, medical devices, and branded generic pharmaceuticals—that create more possibilities for more people at all stages of life. The diagnostic products, automation, and informatics solutions that Abbott makes are designed to improve decision-making and patient care across the entire health care system. Today, 74,000 Abbott employees are working to help people live not just longer, but better, in the more than 150 countries they serve.
A current international partnership that Cienkus and the Abbott Fund are involved in is with the government of Tanzania to strengthen its public health system. A key program there has been the modernization of the Central Pathology Laboratory and employee mentoring of the Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania and 23 regional-level laboratories. Cienkus’s team visits the labs regularly to offer ongoing training and mentorship to the lab technicians.
Cienkus earned a BS in biology (1989) and an MBA (1995) at Loyola University Chicago. His family has a strong lineage at Loyola. His father, Robert (PhD ’74), received his doctorate from Loyola and is a professor emeritus in Loyola’s School of Education after teaching there for 38 years. His mother (MA ’77) received her master’s in Spanish. Cienkus’s wife, Laura O’Dwyer (BBA ’89), graduated from Loyola with a degree in business, and his siblings also received degrees from Loyola: Renee Zoladz (BS ’87, PhD ‘06), Scott Cienkus (MD ‘03), and Leanne Fanelli (BA ’92, PhD ‘06).