The Amsterdam-based company’s supervisory board and CEO van Houten have agreed that it is time for a change in leadership as his third term in the corner office ends. The board unanimously decided to propose Jakobs succeed van Houten.
The move comes as the Dutch medtech giant grapples with a serious respiratory devices recall. The recall involves more than 1 million ventilator and CPAP devices and is linked to 124 deaths. Van Houten disclosed during Philips’s most recent earnings call that the U.S. Department of Justice has proposed a consent decree on behalf of the FDA.
Feike Sijbesma, the chairperson of Royal Philips’ supervisory board, thanked van Houten for “his transformational leadership of Philips over the last nearly 12 years.”
“Guided by his vision and the execution of the strategic roadmap, he has successfully led the company’s transformation from a diversified industrial conglomerate into a focused, global solutions leader in health technology,” Sijbesma said in a news release. “Building on its 131-year heritage, he repositioned Philips to significantly enhance the future value-creating prospects of the company. Frans led Philips with genuine care for its customers, patients, and its employees.”
As Philips’s chief business leader of connected care, Jakobs has been responsible for handling the voluntary recall notification and field safety notices for specific Respironics devices on behalf of Philips. He has made progress in the execution of a comprehensive program that delivers a resolution to affected patients as quickly as possible in consultation with relevant competent authorities.
An Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders will be held on September 30 to officially appoint Jakobs as president and CEO, to be effective October 15. Van Houten will remain as an advisor to the company and support the CEO transition until April 30, 2023.
Jakobs joined Philips in 2010
Jakobs has held various leadership roles at Philips over the years, including chief marketing and strategy officer for Philips Lighting and market leader for Philips Middle East and Turkey across health systems, consumer and lighting. He become chief business leader of personal health in 2018 and was at the forefront of managing the company’s COVID crisis response in early 2020. Jakobs took responsibility in June 2021 to address the Respironics recall on behalf of the company.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead Philips to improve people’s health and well-being through innovation,” Jakobs said in a news release. “I aim to build on the company’s strong foundation as a purpose-driven health technology leader with deep innovation and clinical expertise, to serve the needs of patients and consumers today and in the future. I look forward to working with Philips’ teams across the world to deliver a strong value creation trajectory for shareholders and all our other stakeholders. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Frans for his trust and the great support he has given me over the years.”
Shares in PHG were up 1.39% to $20.38 apiece at market open. MassDevice’s MedTech 100 Index — which includes stocks of the world’s largest medical device companies — was up slightly.