The Man of Many Languages

Jeremy Livianu has translated his chemical engineering background into a successful legal career in the healthcare industry, helping build biotech company Nevro’s legal department from the ground up

Jeremy Livianu sees his career as an attorney and his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering as two sides of the same coin. “Chemistry and engineering are the science of nature, whereas law is the science of how our society is governed—from the Constitution and its origins to the laws and regulations we have to follow today and the ways to navigate compliance with those laws,” he says.

Having spent the past several years working in a variety of corporate transactional, healthcare compliance, and global privacy roles at various medical device companies, Livianu has been able to merge his interests into driving growth for an industry that he’s passionate about. “What I like is playing a role in bringing life-changing, life-saving technologies to physicians and patients,” he says.

When Livianu started his law career, IP law seemed like a natural fit with his engineering background, so he started out practicing patent litigation. But he didn’t realize his true calling until he was tasked with building the compliance program for Tethys Bioscience, a small diagnostics company. “That experience taught me that I love working for small companies, where you are often tasked with building infrastructure from the ground up,” Livianu says. “It also taught me that I love working in medical technologies and using my science background.”

From there, he moved on to become the manager of healthcare compliance for Johnson & Johnson, which gave him experience in a leadership role supporting medical companies on the West Coast.

Jeremy Livianu, Director of Legal Affairs, Global Healthcare Compliance and Privacy Officer at Nevro

In 2014, Livianu was approached by Nevro, where he now serves as the director of legal affairs and global healthcare compliance and privacy officer. At that time, Nevro was seeking US approval for its high-frequency spinal cord stimulator and was aiming to go public. The opportunity matched his interests perfectly. Creating and building Nevro’s corporate legal practice was exciting, and pairing his experience in compliance, privacy, and medical devices on a global scale allowed him to take on a new type of leadership role. “I loved the fact that there was no infrastructure, that it was going to be a blank canvas,” Livianu says. “I was going to have the opportunity to build a department in the way that I thought would be best for Nevro today and for its future.”

Livianu had to build the department at a dizzying pace, as Nevro rapidly expanded while also announcing its IPO later that year. In Livianu’s early work for the company, he kept a careful eye to the future and started by meeting with team members globally to find out where they needed the most support to continue future growth. He also built automation and streamlined programs to make them more scalable and cloud-based and worked on ways to help assure that investors believed in the company and backed them in early rounds. “It was an understanding that I’m not just building for today, but building something with the infrastructure and scale for tomorrow’s model,” Livianu says.

Because of the company’s upcoming plans to go public, he was tasked with helping prepare the company for the IPO while also defending Nevro against employment lawsuits brought on by its competitors who wanted to slow down Nevro’s growth. Once Nevro had gone public, Livianu then focused on formalizing procedures; negotiating agreements across multiple areas of the business, such as sales, marketing, and clinical and operations; implementing training programs for Nevro’s global sales force; and ensuring that the company was following all required federal and state regulations.

“When you can meet people and talk to them in their language, it shows that you care and can be culturally sensitive to them.”

Livianu also spends a lot of time making sure that he’s connected with team members in the United States as well as its global sales teams. He knew at the outset that he didn’t want to build a US-centric legal department, so he’s worked to understand anticorruption and privacy issues at home and abroad. He even goes on the road each quarter to attend different sales meetings and conferences across the United States as well as throughout Europe and Australia. “Europeans and Australians treat legal issues such as privacy much differently from Americans,” Livianu says. “For example, they are much stricter in their laws protecting personal information, and you have to be much more careful with things like direct-to-patient marketing.”

It helps that Livianu speaks four languages: French, Romanian, Spanish, and English. “When you can meet people and talk to them in their language, it shows that you care and can be culturally sensitive to them,” Livianu says. He also says that helps him build rapport with team members and customers. This has become increasingly important as Nevro has grown from fewer than one hundred to more than six hundred employees since he started. In addition to his day-to-day legal responsibilities, Livianu has focused on making sure that he’s able to engage with his team members in ways that are fun and interesting.

This past January, he organized a global sales training that went the extra mile. After teasing his two hundred-member audience of global sales reps with an intro that suggested that the conference was going to be dry and rote, the presentation then jumped into a dance routine, followed by rounds of Family Feud style games, and a series of short videos commissioned from the Chicago-based comedy theater The Second City. “We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into planning the presentation, and it came together in a fun way,” he says. “There are so many people in the organization that you might only meet once a year, and this gives you an opportunity to relate to them personally in a way you’d never get to otherwise.”

As someone who firmly believes in the importance of trust and accountability in building relationships, Livianu strives to be available and approachable in all his work at Nevro, always phoning his customers and colleagues to check in and creating tools and resources to help with current challenges or future projects. And he loves knowing that he’s working at a company that is passionate about delivering a valuable product. “Being able to come in at the beginning and being able to bring a technology to the public has been a special opportunity,” Livianu says. “It was my dream job, and I now know that this will be the space I want to continue growing my career.”