Former Boston Scientific CEO Tobin joins Aptus Endosystems board | Personnel Moves

James Tobin

Former Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) CEO James Tobin joined the board of directors at Aptus Endosystems Inc., a device company specializing in treating abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Tobin made quite a name for himself while occupying the corner office at med-tech giant Boston Scientific, where he was chief for a decade. He officially retired in July 2009 and was succeeded by Ray Elliott.

Boston Scientific went through unprecedented growth during Tobin’s tenure, with annual sales jumping from $2.8 billion to $8 billion in 2008, peaking at $8.4 billion in 2007. Tobin also led a hiring spree, more than doubling the size of the company – from 12,615 employees when he took the helm to a high-water mark of 28,600 in 2006.

But cost constraints and mounting debt prompted layoffs for about 4,000 workers over his last two years; at the end of 2008, the company employed 24,800 people worldwide.

In April 2009, Forbes named Tobin one of the "most overpaid" CEOs in business. He took home $8.6 million in total compensation in 2008, slightly less than the $9 million he received in 2007. He walked away from the device giant with a severance deal worth $5 million.

Tobin oversaw the acquisition of Guidant Corp., now commonly cited as one of the most misguided buyouts in history. BSX shelled out $27 billion in cash and stock for Guidant after a bidding war with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) over the heart device maker.

Despite its promise, the deal quickly soured. After its May 2006 closing, BSX forced to issue recalls or warnings on about 50,000 Guidant defibrillators, reported that it might take two years to clean up the mess. The deal was crippling in many ways, from public relations to the balance sheet, saddling BSX with nearly $9 billion in debt.

Fortune magazine called it the "second-worst" merger of all time, trailing only the ill-fated Time Warner-AOL merger.

Tobin was also at the helm when another merger went sour.

In June 2004, Boston Scientific spent $740 million on Advanced Bionics, the brainchild of celebrated inventor Alfred Mann.

The Valencia, Calif.-based company, which was posting about $50 million in annual sales at the time, developed cochlear implants and spinal cord neuro-stimulators that were making waves in the field.

Officials at Boston Scientific were bullish on the possibilities, telling analysts that Advanced Bionic sales could reach nearly $4 billion by 2010.

When, after two years, Tobin handed Mann his walking papers, Mann balked and accused Boston Scientific of plotting behind his back. He sued and eventually settled for a portion of the company he founded.

All told, Boston Scientific paid former shareholders of Advanced Bionics $650 million, making the final, $500 million installment in March 2009. AB shareholders in turn paid Boston Scientific $150 million to buy back its auditory business.

"Jim is widely recognized as a leading medical device executive who will bring a combination of strategic vision and business acumen to Aptus Endosystems," Aptus board chairman Alan Kaganov said in prepared remarks. "He’s a proven and skilled executive with broad experience in health care markets and will be invaluable to our efforts to transform and develop an emerging medical device company focused on endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR)."

MassDevice.com Personnel Moves

Here’s the latest personnel changes from medical device, diagnostics and life science companies around the nation. For more recent hirings and firings, check out MassDevice’s compilation of the latest personnel moves.

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