Global Medical Device Giant Smith & Nephew Loses Innovative Executive In Pay Row

Global British medical device manufacturing company, Smith & Nephew has announced a shakeup to its executive team.

The orthopedics company, which manufactures artificial knees, hip joints as well as wound dressings, announced that its chief executive, Namal Nawana would stand down on 31 October by mutual agreement just 18 months since his appointment.

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Nawana is stepping down, by mutual agreement to "pursue other opportunities outside of the UK," after demands for higher pay. While Nawana requested a raise in line with the packages awarded by US medical device-makers, the company could not meet these requests under UK corporate governance standards.

The company has announced that he will be superseded by Roland Diggelmann, former Roche Diagnostics executive. Notably, Diggelmann has been on the Smith & Nephew board as a non-executive director since March 2018.

“On behalf of the board, I am delighted to welcome Roland Diggelmann as Smith & Nephew’s incoming CEO. I am certain that Roland’s leadership qualities, combined with his excellent track record of delivering results in an innovation-led business, his deep expertise in the medical devices industry, and his knowledge of Smith & Nephew, make him the right person to build on the Company’s success into the future,” said chairman Roberto Quarta. “During his time with Smith & Nephew, Namal has substantially transformed the business with a new strategy, purpose, and culture, and a renewed commitment to innovation, returning it to an improved growth trajectory. I would like to thank Namal for his leadership and many contributions to the Company, our employees, customers, and stakeholders.”

However, shares in the FTSE 100 group fell 8.9 percent as investors reacted with disappointment at the departure of the Australian executive, who since joining Smith & Nephew increased revenue growth and overhauled the company's overall operating model.

While the company experienced some flatlining and decline in certain sectors of the business in 2017, they are determined to keep their momentum in 2019 aimed towards exponential growth.

“There is clear momentum behind our strategy laid out last year, underlined by the company’s performance generated by our team during 2019. I am proud to be leaving Smith & Nephew in a strong position for the next phase of its development,” Nawana said.