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Smith+Nephew CEO Stepping Down

Smith+Nephew (SNN) CEO Namal Nawana will step down from his 18-month tenure on October 31, by mutual agreement, to pursue opportunities outside of the U.K. 

Roland Diggelmann will become SNN’s new CEO on November 1. His previous leadership role was CEO of Roche Diagnostics, which reported revenue of $11.5 billion in 2018. Mr. Diggelmann’s 11 years at Roche Diagnostics were preceded by 12 years in orthopedics at Sulzer Orthopedics and Zimmer. Mr. Diggelmann joined SNN’s board as a non-executive director in early 2018.

Mr. Nawana has been instrumental in delivering on a critical phase of SNN’s development, accelerating revenue growth across franchises and geographies as well as improving profitability. The company said that the new CEO and senior leadership team will build on these foundations to further drive commercial execution and deliver on the company’s strategic ambitions.

Under Mr. Nawana’s stewardship from May 2018 to October 2019, SNN averaged growth of 1.5% per quarter, driven mostly by knee replacement and sports medicine sales. These results coincided with an overhaul of the company’s structure from regional selling to a global model led by franchise-focused presidents. In late 2018, the company hit a milestone of $1 billion in annual knee replacement sales and doubled unit sales of NAVIO versus the previous year.

However, during Mr. Nawana’s tenure, trauma performance lagged due to lack of international scale and effective focus from leadership. Despite gains by NAVIO, the company’s relative lack of robotics experience impacted its ability to compete with Stryker in the knee replacement market.

The leadership transition occurs as SNN is reintroducing its brand and business under the Life Unlimited campaign, with strategic imperatives such as achieve the full potential of our portfolio, transform the business through enabling technologies, expand in high-growth segments, etc.

Julie A. Vetalice is ORTHOWORLD's Editorial Assistant.