65bacb5799c688001e564434 Heppelmann

Heppelmann retiring this month as CEO of PTC

Jan. 31, 2024
In 26 years, including 13 as CEO, he oversaw the company’s transformation to SaaS and helped build PTC to its status as a leader in CAD, PLM, ALM, SLM, IIoT, and augmented reality solutions.

James “Jim” Heppelmann will retire this month after 26 years with PTC, the last 13 of which as CEO, the company has announced.

During his time as president and CEO, Heppelmann led PTC through its most transformative years and to the company’s status as a leader in CAD, PLM, ALM, SLM, IIoT, and augmented reality solutions. PTC recently reported a market cap, or stock value, of more than $20 billion.

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In a Jan. 25 release, PTC posted a rundown of Heppelmann’s 26 years of accomplishments at Boston-based PTC, which in 2019, after two-plus decades selling perpetual licenses for its software, transitioned to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription business.

Under Heppelmann’s leadership, PTC has formed strategic partnerships with leading companies in digital transformation, including Rockwell Automation, Microsoft, and ANSYS.

“With a vision to transform how manufacturers handle their data across the product lifecycle, Heppelmann led PTC in significantly expanding our portfolio of technologies to become the global leader in product lifecycle management, from design to manufacturing to service to end of life,” the company’s Jan. 25 release stated.

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He joined PTC in 1998 with the acquisition of Windchill, a company he co-founded, and he assumed the role of president and CEO in 2010. As CEO, PTC acquired Servigistics in 2012.

The following year, PTC acquired ThingWorx when the Internet of Things (IoT) was still in its infancy. A critical part of Heppelmann’s vision and PTC’s strategy was harnessing the power of connecting CAD, PLM, and IoT, the release states.

PTC extended its technology portfolio once again in 2015 with Vuforia, an industry leading augmented reality platform. Heppelmann saw AR’s potential to revolutionize how people work within industrial environments and empower them with the right information at the right time, according to the PTC release.

Together with Harvard Business School professor and business strategist Michael E. Porter, Heppelmann co-wrote three thought leadership pieces about the transformative potential of IoT, and later, AR. Published in the Harvard Business Review, this trio of articles set the stage for how industrial companies could (and should) be capitalizing on IIoT and AR technologies.

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To accelerate the transition to SaaS, PTC acquired Onshape, the first cloud-native CAD and PDM software, in 2019. Arena Solutions, a cloud-native PLM and QMS software, joined PTC in 2020. The duo of Onshape and Arena have fueled new growth in the small- and medium-sized business market, according to the company.

Heppelmann has been recognized for his vision and leadership, including being recognized as No. 11 on The Boston Globe’s 2023 Tech Power Players list and in the Top 25 Enterprise IT Innovators by CRN (2019), one of “7 IoT Leaders to Watch in 2017” by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, “IoT CEO of the Year” by PostScapes, and “Technology CEO of the Year” by MassTLC.

About the Author

Scott Achelpohl

I've come to Smart Industry after stints in business-to-business journalism covering U.S. trucking and transportation for FleetOwner, a sister website and magazine of SI’s at Endeavor Business Media, and branches of the U.S. military for Navy League of the United States. I'm a graduate of the University of Kansas and the William Allen White School of Journalism with many years of media experience inside and outside B2B journalism. I'm a wordsmith by nature, and I edit Smart Industry and report and write all kinds of news and interactive media on the digital transformation of manufacturing.