Apple has made a new senior hire for its health team: M. Osman Akhtar, a chief operating officer of a nonprofit network of hospitals in Minnesota.
Akhtar will be reporting to Sumbul Desai, a senior employee on the health team who's been staffing up Apple's employee health clinics, called AC Wellness. Akhtar will work with Desai on the medical clinics, according to people familiar with the hire, although he may also be involved in other projects.
Akhtar has been responsible for running operations for Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis since July of 2017. Before that, he worked for almost 8 years at Sutter Health, a hospital system in the Bay Area. he started his career in health administration at Stanford University, where Apple has made many of its prominent health hires including Desai.
Akhtar has not updated his LinkedIn page to reflect his new role. Apple declined to comment on the hire.
Apple has added more than 40 people to its health clinics in the past three months to help it serve employees at the company's headquarters. These include nurses, doctors and care navigators. Akhtar is the most senior new employee to join the team.
Apple's health team has ballooned in recent years as it has brought on doctors, technologists and regulatory experts to help it bolster its medical features on the Apple Watch. On Wednesday, the company announced a new EKG sensor for the next generation of its Apple Watch, will be be released later in the year. For that, it received clearance from federal regulators to help alert people with a condition called Atrial Fibrillation, which is the leading cause of stroke.
Apple's Jeff Williams has described the company's mission in health care as about giving patients direct access to their health information. "Hopefully save a lot of lives," he told CNBC in an interview in 2017, adding that the company is serious about the sector at the highest levels. "The executive team has embraced this," he said. "It's hard not to get excited."