September 9, 2015 / 3:11 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-St. Jude Medical CEO Daniel Starks to retire in January

(Adds details, analyst comments, shares)

Sept 9 (Reuters) - Medical device maker St. Jude Medical Inc said Chief Executive Daniel J. Starks would retire in January and Chief Operating Officer Michael T. Rousseau would replace him.

Starks, who joined the company in 1998 and was appointed CEO in May 2004, will become executive chairman, St. Jude Medical said on Wednesday.

Rousseau joined St. Jude Medical in 1999 and he has led the company’s four product divisions that sell devices for heart and nervous system.

Rousseau, who turns 60 in December, was named chief operating officer last year.

Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Kumar said Rousseau was the “natural successor” to the top position.

St. Jude Medical agreed in July to buy heart device maker Thoratec Corp for about $3.4 billion.

Investors will be keen to know if Rousseau will focus on core growth or go for acquisitions, Kumar said.

U.S. medical device makers are consolidating to offset pricing pressure, with hospitals cutting costs as patients reduce doctor visits due to rising out-of-pocket costs for care.

St. Jude Medical’s shares fell about 2 percent to $69.97 on the New York Stock Exchange. Up to Tuesday’s close, the stock had gained 87 percent since Starks took over as CEO. (Reporting by Anjali Rao Koppala in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Kirti Pandey)

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