May 10, 2019 / 10:34 AM / 11 days ago

UPDATE 1-Danish medical device maker Ambu sinks on CEO departure

(Adds chairman interview, updates shares)

COPENHAGEN, May 10 (Reuters) - Lars Marcher, CEO of Danish medical device maker Ambu, who has presided over a roughly 5,000 percent rise in the company’s shares since 2008, is to step down and be replaced by a former Johnson & Johnson executive.

Marcher had led the company’s successful expansion of diagnostic and life-support devices for hospitals for more than 10 years, focusing on products such as single-use endoscopes.

Ambu’s shares fell more than 10 percent on news of the management change.

Ambu said Marcher’s replacement Juan-José Gonzalez would take on his new job from May 15.

“With Juan-José Gonzalez as CEO, we ensure that Ambu also has the necessary global experience to execute the announced strategy and ensure the successful commercialisation of our product launches,” Chairman Jens Bager said in a statement on Friday.

Bager told Reuters Gonzales had “deep knowledge” of the U.S. medtech industry which was an important skill at a time where Ambu was aiming to expand globally with its new product ranges.

“The board has employed a new strong international profile and as a consequence Lars Marcher has left his position,” Bager said, adding that the new employment contract had been signed early Friday morning.

He declined to comment further on the process.

Ambu’s shares have risen about 4,750 percent since Marcher took the helm in 2008. They were down 12 percent by 0805 GMT on Friday set for their worst day since November 2018, Refinitiv data showed.

“From a financial perspective with regards to the result, it is difficult to find fault with Marcher’s performance,” Nordnet analyst Per Hansen said.

Bager said he would like to thank Marcher for his contribution to Ambu’s growth over the past 10 years.

“We can only recognise that as very impressive, but now we are facing a new and very exiting development in the company’s history,” the chairman said.

Ambu said there would be one-off costs of 38 million Danish crowns ($5.7 million) relating to Marcher’s departure — covering his salary for a notice period and share options. It said its financial expectations for 2018-19 were unchanged, while Bager said that the company’s current strategy was also unchanged.

Gonzalez, who is 46, is an American citizen and will move from the United States to Denmark to take up the role, Ambu said.

Gonzalez was at Johnson & Johnson until February this year, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was president the group’s U.S. subsidiary DePuy Synthes, which makes orthopedic and neurosurgical products.

$1 = 6.6491 Danish crowns Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, additional reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdynia Editing by Keith Weir and Jane Merriman

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