Smith+Nephew names ex-Serco Group CEO Rupert Soames as chair designate

  • Ex-Serco CEO Rupert Soames named chairman designate
  • Soames to take over as chair on Sept. 15
  • Current chair Roberto Quarta to retire as chair in 2023

Feb 17 (Reuters) - British medical products maker Smith+Nephew (SN.L) has named Rupert Soames as chairman designate, succeeding Roberto Quarta when he retires this year.

Soames, 63, grandson of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was chief executive at British outsourcing company Serco Group (SRP.L) until last year

Soames was at the helm of Serco during the coronavirus pandemic when it benefited from being one of the suppliers supporting Britain's test-and-trace programme.

"We believe that Rupert's extensive track record of value creation in global companies and deep understanding of corporate governance will help (CEO) Deepak Nath and his team deliver on their existing plans to grow the business and to improve its operational performance," Senior Independent Director Marc Owen said.

Founded in 1856, Smith+Nephew makes orthopaedic implants and prosthetics, along with wound dressings and other surgical technologies.

Last year, the company warned of a lower annual profit margin, squeezed by surging inflation and supply chain challenges.

Medical product makers saw challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the crisis forced hospitals to delay elective surgeries to accommodate infected patients.

Soames will be appointed as an independent non-executive director at the company's annual shareholders' meeting on April 26 and will succeed as chair from Sept. 15, Smith+Nephew said.

His appointment as independent non-executive director is subject to shareholder approval, it added.

Quarta will continue as chair to ensure a smooth transition and will put himself forward for re-election as a non-executive director.

Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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