Having spent years bolting on a series of acquisitions, Hologic under MacMillan will focus on organic development rather than looking outside for growth. It’s a strategy that MacMillan said worked wonders for Stryker (NYSE:SYK), which he helmed from 2005 to 2012.
"[Hologic] was built, over the last decade, through a series of acquisitions," MacMillan told us. "It’s now a strategic shift from an acquisition-led strategy to an organic growth strategy, which is a lot of what I did [at Stryker.] If you look at Stryker, the 1st 5 years was virtually all organic growth, and then the final few years we started to supplement with some bite-sized acquisitions. I think that’s exactly the situation and the playbook we’ll probably run here."
MacMillan has held top seats at 3 different companies in different spaces over the past 2 years, leaving Stryker in February 2012 amid a flurry of rumors about his personal life. Amid speculation that MacMillan may take an executive role at Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) orthopedic division, he took over the corner office at small, privately owned infection control company sBioMed in November 2012. The whirlwind gives him some unique perspective as a medtech leader.
"I’m just incredibly proud of what we did at Stryker, in terms of transforming that company during my time there," he told us. "Then working in a small, private company gave me a different set of experiences around entrepreneurial roles. It’s going to be about combining all of the additional lessons learned as we attack the Hologic opportunity."
He chose Hologic, he added, because he sees real potential there in terms of spurring growth. The medtech company has huge potential, he said, and he hopes to help bring it new focus that will drive it toward greater value for employees and shareholders.
"It’s a great set of businesses and a really dedicated team, and I think that business can be grown faster than what’s it’s doing right now," he said.
MacMillan joins Hologic at something of a tremulous time, with activist investor Carl Icahn nabbing up more than 12.6% of the company, acquiring about $285.4 million in HOLX shares and demanding changes at the women’s health devices maker. Icahn gave his blessing to MacMillan’s appointment, which was announced alongside the addition of 2 new Icahn Capital managing directors seated on Hologic’s board.
In response to Icahn’s interest, Hologic immediately adopted a 1-year rights plan to defend the company against a hostile takeover, but MacMillan isn’t so concerned about Icahn’s aggressive influence.
"I think we all see the same thing, that [Hologic’s] a great set of businesses with, frankly, upside potential," MacMillan told us. "In a way, we’re far more aligned than it might appear."
"Businesses face different challenges, this one clearly has unique challenges at this point," he added. "But at the end of the day I’m totally convinced that we can drive additional value for the company and for the employees."