The Kalamazoo, Mich.-based medical device company will host its annual analyst day this week, where officials are expected to reaffirm the company’s 2012 outlook, as well as offer Wall Street a peek at trends in the orthopedic world. However, some analysts think it’s also the appropriate venue to announce a permanent chief executive.
"The analyst day seems to us like a good time to announce a permanent CEO," Leerink Swann analyst Richard Newitter wrote in a note to investors. "Curt Hartman (sitting CFO) has been acting as interim CEO while the board of directors conducts a search for a permanent successor. Both internal and external candidates are under consideration, including Mr. Hartman, and we think there is a strong possibility the board could ultimately appoint Curt Hartman to permanently fill SYK’s top management seat."
For their part, Stryker officials are mum on the possibility. Tamara Cutler, a spokesperson for the company told MassDevice.com that the company could not comment on the speculation.
Hartman, who also serves as the company’s CFO, has been at the helm of Stryker since former CEO Stephen MacMillan resigned in February, after a flap over a romantic relationship the executive had with a former employee. Hartman has been with the company since 1990 and has "progressed through a variety of leadership positions over the last 22 years, including 6 years as global president of Stryker Instruments," the company said in a prepared release. In April 2009, he was named VP and CFO, a title he has held.
While MacMillan’s departure shocked the orthopedic world, Hartman has managed to steady the ship, according to Newitter.
"In our view, his appointment would likely allow for a smooth leadership transition," he wrote.
In July, Stryker posted profits of $325 million, or 85¢ per share, on sales of $2.11 billion for the 3 months ended June 30. That’s a bottom-line gain of 4.8% and a top-line addition of 2.9%.
SYK shares were up 1% to $53.82 as of about 4:15 p.m. today.