Guiding a company through a merger or an acquisition can test a CEO’s leadership skills. Here’s how NinePoint Medical CEO, Christopher von Jako, led his former medtech company, NeuroTherm, through a deal with St. Jude Medical.
When Christopher von Jako assumed the corner office at NeuroTherm in 2013, the company had gone through two other CEOs in a year’s time and was reeling from an FDA warning. And in his first week as the company’s chief executive, St. Jude Medical came knocking — they were looking to buy.
Von Jako is an M&A veteran: he’s been through five of them in his 25-year career in the medical device field. But just days into his time at NeuroTherm, he wasn’t ready to sell.
“I said, ‘Well, I just showed up here. I’m not ready to sell the company. We’ve got to fix some things and I think we can drive some additional value,” von Jako explained.
He told St. Jude that when NeuroTherm was ready to sell, he would approach them. But St. Jude, which was later bought by Abbott, was persistent. Eventually, von Jako hired a banker. A year and a half after joining NeuroTherm, he had inked a $200 million deal to sell the interventional pain management company and its radiofrequency ablation systems used to treat spinal pain.