David Illingsworth is leaving the corner office at Smith & Nephew plc (NYSE:SNN), the company announced today as part of its fourth-quarter earnings release.
Illingsworth, who is retiring after a nine-year tenure at the helm of the British orthopedics giant, will be replaced by Olivier Bohuon, whom the company poached from French pharmaceuticals firm Pierre Fabre. Bouhon also ran the pharmaceutical business of Abbott Laboratories. The transition, which has been in the works for months, is set to take place April 14.
“The board is very sorry to see Dave go,” Smith & Nephew chairman John Buchanan said during a presentation with investors. “Dave’s nine years have been characterized by a customer-oriented approach aimed at creating shareholder value.”
Illingsworth made what will be his last annual earnings call with investors today, saying the company posted $3.96 billion in total sales for 2010, up 4 percent from $3.77 billion in 2009. The uptick was driven by increases of 7 percent increase each for SNN’s wound management and endoscopy businesses.
The company’s bread and butter orthopedics business was up about 2 percent, to $2.19 billion. Overall, the company reported profits of $615 million profit, up 30 percent from $472 million in 2009.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, Smith & Nephew reported profits of $182 million on $1.06 billion in sales, a bottom-line increase of 42 percent compared with $128 million profit the company posted on $1.06 billion in sales during the same period in 2009.
“The market conditions were what we expected,” Illingsworth said. “I believe we have managed pretty well in this environment.”
The earnings release pushed shares of SNN up 2.4 percent to $58.80 in mid-day trading. Smith & Nephew’s stock has been up about 14 percent over the past month on rumors of a possible sale to Johnson & Johnson, which first surfaced in January.
The company has said it is not for sale, despite the persistent speculation.