Mussallem, 70, informed the board of his decision to retire in connection with Edwards’ annual meeting of stockholders on May 11, 2023.
At that meeting, Mussallem intends to stand for election as non-executive chair of the Edwards Board. The company’s succession plan tabbed Bernard Zovighian to succeed him as CEO. Zovighian currently serves as corporate VP and GM of Edwards’ transcatheter mitral and tricuspid therapies (TMTT) business.
Zovighian takes over as president, effective Jan. 1, until he becomes CEO in May. Edwards plans for him and Mussallem, along with the board and executive leadership team, to work closely to ensure a smooth transition.
“It has been a special honor and privilege to lead our team at Edwards Lifesciences for more than 20 years in their immense contributions to helping and advancing care for millions of patients around the world,” said Musallem. “I am particularly proud of the ‘patients-first’ culture that is embodied by our employees and the commitment to innovation and excellence that our global teams demonstrate. Our success to date is a testament to our talented executive leadership and passionate global team, and we are well positioned for an even brighter future.”
More leadership moves as part of the succession plan
Edwards also appointed additional members of its executive leadership team to new roles, effective Jan. 1.
The company named Larry Wood to the expanded role of corporate VP and group president, TAVR and surgical structural heart. He previously served as VP and GM of the TAVR business. Daveen Chopra, who served as VP and GM of surgical structural heart since 2018. will lead the TMTT business.
Incoming CEO Zovighian joined Edwards in 2015 as VP and GM of surgical structural heart. He assumed the role of VP and GM for TMTT in 2018. Prior to his time at Edwards, he spent nearly 20 years in a number of roles at Johnson & Johnson.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to partner with our people around the world to build upon Edwards’ patient-focused culture and innovation strategy,” said Zovighian. “Edwards has contributed over the last six decades to the advancement of treatments for structural heart disease and critical care patients, and our robust pipeline of technologies will enable us to help even more patients in the future.
“I look forward to working closely with the board, Mike and Edwards’ Executive Leadership Team on a smooth transition and further advancing the great work of our global teams.”
Edwards looks ahead to 2023
Along with the personnel changes, Edwards also revealed its expectations for fiscal 2023.
The company reaffirmed its October 2022 guidance while projecting 2023 sales of between $5.6 billion and $6 billion. Wall Street projects $5.71 billion in revenues for Edwards. The company set its 2023 adjusted earnings per share projection for between $2.45 and $2.60. Analysts project adjusted EPS of $2.52.
Edwards anticipates its TAVR business to grow between 9% and 12% year-over-year. That would entail sales of between $3.6 billion and $4 billion. The company also anticipates TMTT sales to fall between $160 million and $200 million.
“I’m proud of the meaningful progress that the company made in 2022 advancing our strategic milestones to drive future success,” said Mussallem. “In 2023, we are projecting strong underlying sales growth while we continue to aggressively pursue breakthrough therapies for millions of patients suffering from structural heart diseases. During the year, we look forward to significant milestones, including new product launches and progress on multiple important clinical trials. We remain confident that our innovative therapies will continue to drive strong organic growth in the years to come as we embark on a new era of structural heart innovation.”
BTIG analyst Marie Thibault wrote that she expects EW shares to potentially move higher today. However, she said stock reactions to a CEO change can be difficult to predict.
Shares of EW rose slightly to $72.95 apiece near the close of trading today. MassDevice‘s MedTech 100 Index, which includes stocks of the world’s largest medical device companies, was up more than 7%.
How Edwards plans for growth in 2023
Edwards said it remains “confident that TAVR fundamentals remain strong.” It expects hospital staffing challenges to improve and plans to address those challenges. Edwards said it is focused on supporting hospital partners and engaging with the clinical community.
The company anticipates strong adoption of its Sapien 3 Ultra Resilia in 2023. It also said its EARLY TAVR pivotal trial is fully enrolled and advancing through the follow-up process. The company also expects continued enrollment in its PROGRESS trial and ALLIANCE trial of the next-generation Sapien X4.
Edwards’ TMTT business focuses on three key value drivers. That includes a portfolio of differentiated therapies, positive clinical results and favorable real-world outcomes. The company plans to continue its U.S. and European launch of the Pascal Precision platform in 2023. It also expects European approval of the Evoque tricuspid valve by the end of the year.
The company said it plans to broaden the adoption of its Inspiris Resilia flagship surgical aortic heart valve. It also expects to accelerate its surgical mitral valve leadership through the launch of Mitris Resilia.
Finally, Edwards said it plans to drive growth through critical care technologies. That includes an integrated range of smart recovery technologies on its HemoSphere monitoring platform. Edwards said this will create a unique offering of enhanced recovery tools to strengthen its leadership in smart monitoring.