50 Global Armenians: Haig S. Bagerdjian

Mediamax continues its "50 Global Armenians” special project. Today we present Haig S. Bagerdjian.Haig S. Bagerdjian, is a businessman. He was born in Yerevan in 1956.

Photo: from Hajg Bagerdjian’s archive

Haig S. Bagerdjian, is a businessman. He was born in Yerevan in 1956. He entered the YSU Department of Applied Mathematics, but moved to the U.S. during his first year at YSU. After serving in the U.S. Army he continued his higher education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles receiving four degrees and at the Harvard University studding Law and receiving Doctors of Law degree (JD). He is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Point.360 and “Global Medical Solutions” companies. In the near future, with the direct support of “Global Medical Solutions” an ultra-modern diagnostic and treatment center for oncological diseases will be established in Yerevan.

I was born in Nerkin Zeytun district of Yerevan. After graduating from high school, I was admitted to the YSU Department of Applied Mathematics but during my first year of studies I moved to USA with my family. My father was exiled to Siberia during Stalin epoch. After Stalin’s death he managed to return to Armenia but he indeed had difficulties finding a job and he sought ways to leave the Soviet Union. We left for Lebanon in 1975 and set off to Los Angeles the following year.

Finding himself in the U.S., Haig served in the U.S. Army for over 6 years.

After serving in the Army, in 1980 I entered the University of Southern California and graduated in 1983 with degrees in International Relations, Slavonic Languages and Literature, Strategic Defense and National Security and Russian Studies. Same year I was admitted to the School of Law at Harvard University and got my Doctorate degree in 1986. After graduations I returned to California and started my career as a lawyer.

In 1991, Haig entered Syncor International Corporation and his rapid career advancement started.

At that time I was working as an attorney and Syncor was solely engaged in compounding and distribution of nuclear medicine throughout U.S. Syncor was the pioneer in patient specific preparation and distribution of Nuclear Medicine. Soon I was given additional responsibilities of Chief Legal officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development. My primary responsibility was to diversify Syncor’s business and develop new markets in foreign countries. In 1997 I was promoted to Executive Vice President of Syncor and President and Chief Executive Officer of manufacturing subsidiaries and all the businesses outside of U.S. We made considerable progress from 1997 to 2000: (a) extended our business to 38 countries; (b) acquired and/or developed new lines of business in diagnostic imaging, cancer treatment, non-invasive radioactive surgery, drug and device manufacturing and related services. In 2000, Syncor International Corporation merged with Cardinal Health, much larger company. 

With former New York governor Rudi Juliani
Photo: from Hajg Bagerdjian’s archive

During that period, all the international transactions and operations of Syncor International Corporation were carried out under Haig's direct control.

After the merger was completed, I became a consultant to Cardinal Health and pursued other business opportunities. Soon after I joined Point.360 as a Chairman of the Board. Point.360 was a publicly traded, well establish post production company. In 2002 I took additional responsibly of Chief Executive Officer. I still hold both of those positions and occasionally produce independent films.

Point.360 in some ways is involved in making all the major Hollywood movies. Clients of the company are such large Hollywood companies as Paramount, Disney, Sony Studios, etc. It provides highly technical support services and is considered one of the best in this sphere in Hollywood. For example, James Cameron's ''Avatar'' format conversion for international distribution was carried out by Point.360. Company also actively cooperated with popular ''Lost'' TV series.

With Atom Egoyan and Arsineh Khanjian in Toronto
Photo: from Hajg Bagerdjian’s archive

I set up Global Medical Solutions in 2003 when I was asked by Cardinal Health to purchase Syncor’s operations outside of U.S. I agreed to buy business in 7 counters in the Pacifica Rim and one in Latin America. Soon we will add Armenia as our ninth country and increase the number to 11 by expending to Vietnam and Myanmar.

In April 2, 2012, the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia (NCFA) and Global Medical Solutions signed a memorandum of understanding at the presence of Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan according to which an ultra-modern center for treatment of oncological diseases will be establish in Yerevan.

End of 2011, I was asked to provide relevant consultancy to the Armenian government. Starting 2010, NCFA had done a considerable job regarding the proposed center – the Government had raised the necessary funds for the purchase of the equipment and dedicated the land for the center. When I was asked to take the management role of the center I agreed. There were several reasons as to why. First and foremost, I think it's really a wonderful and important project for our country. Secondly, we at Syncor and GMS have implemented such projects around the world, so I asked – why not in Armenia? And finally, I always desired to do something meaningful for Armenia, if there was a proper project that I could bring value. This is an excellent opportunity which we will try to materialize and put into practice.

Haig thinks that the future center will not only be Armenian, but also regional.

Not only we are going to have a state of the art diagnostic and treatment center for cancer, but also a manufacturing site for medical isotopes. Besides, it's an excellent chance to cooperate with the Institute of Physics. There are brilliant scientists in the Institute. I think it's a great opportunity to showcase our Armenian scientists to the world community, yet again. This is a very exciting objective for me.

I hope the construction will start in the summer and we'll be able to receive our first patients by next spring.

Haig is also one of the directors of Los Angeles Opera and he admits he can't imagine his life without art.

Art, and the opera in particular, is something like oxygen for me. I have been involved in management of Los Angeles Opera for over 10 years. However, it's not a hobby – it is a wholehearted engagement. Los Angeles Opera ranks among the best opera houses in the world, owing to our General Director Maestro Placido Domingo’s vision and energy. We have made unbelievable progress over the past decade.

With soprano star Anja Kampe
Photo: from Hajg Bagerdjian’s archive

The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Opera are very close to my heart. Both of them are our national treasures which should be preserved and developed at all cost. There are some suggestions and projects at work which I hope to share with you in the near future. 

Aram Araratyan


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