Deepak Nath, who was previously president of diagnostics at Siemens Healthineers, will take the reins at Smith & Nephew at the beginning of April © Margaret Fox
by Hannah Kuchler in London FEBRUARY 22 2022
Medical devices maker replaces Roland Diggelmann who took top job in 2019
Medical devices maker Smith & Nephew has appointed Deepak Nath as chief executive, replacing Roland Diggelmann whose short stint in the top job was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Nath, who was previously president of diagnostics at Siemens Healthineers, will take the reins at Smith & Nephew from April 1. The FTSE 100 company said Diggelmann was leaving “by mutual agreement” on March 31.
The announcement of the new chief came as Smith & Nephew’s fourth quarter revenues missed analysts’ expectations, with sales in its orthopaedics business hampered by global supply chain disruption. The group’s revenues of $1.35bn, lagged the $1.36bn expected by analysts.
Roberto Quarta, chair of Smith & Nephew, said Nath was joining at an “inflection point” for the business and would bring his “drive, experience and expertise” to the company. At Siemens Healthineers, he oversaw a business segment with $6bn in sales and 15,000 employees.
“Deepak is a highly experienced leader with a track record of significant improvement in operations and execution at a major global healthcare business,” he said.
Shares, which have fallen 16.7 per cent in the past year, climbed 2.1 per cent to 1,203.5p in morning trading in London. The device maker announced plans for an annual share buyback programme, which will start this year.
Diggelmann was a non-executive director who stepped into the top job in November 2019 when Smith & Nephew’s former chief executive Namal Nawana quit after 18 months because the company could not meet his remuneration demands.
Smith & Nephew said that for the full year its sales climbed 14.3 per cent to $5.2bn, while its earnings per share were 59.8 cents, up from 51.3 cents in 2020. Although the group’s orthopaedics business had a testing quarter, sales at its sports medicine and advanced wound management units have rebounded to higher levels than seen before the pandemic.
Smith & Nephew forecast sales growth of between 4 and 5 per cent for this year, a prediction that assumes some continued disruption from the Omicron wave in the first quarter and hospital staffing shortages. By 2024, Smith & Nephew is targeting a 4 to 6 per cent underlying revenue growth rate and a margin of at least 21 per cent.