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NuVasive CEO Resigns After Board Investigation


Alex Lukianov
Alex Lukianov

An independent investigation, overseen by NuVasive's board, found Alex Lukianov had not complied with certain company expense reimbursement and personnel policies.

Chris Newmarker

NuVasive's CEO has resigned from the company after an independent investigation oversean by the San Diego-based company's board found he engaged I actions that were "not representative of the high standards by which NuVasive operates," the company said Wednesday.

Alex Lukianov stepped down Friday. He had been NuVasive's CEO since 1999, back when the noninvasive spine surgery device company was a venture-backed startup, and had been board chairman since 2004. He did not comply with expense reimbursement and personnel policies, according to the company. While the amounts involved appear to be immaterial to the company's financial results, something apparently crossed the line.

NuVasive spokeswoman Stacy Roughan declined to provide more details when contacted by Qmed.

Lukianov leaves with a $900,000 severance payment, equal to one year's salary, according to an SEC filing that accompanied the announcement. The company is also paying Lukianov $500,000 to stay as a consultant for 18 months. For perspective, Lukianov brought in about $6 million in total annual compensation in recent years, according to NuVasive's most recent proxy statement.

Greg Lucier
Greg Lucier

Greg Lucier, a NuVasive board member since 2013, will serve as board chairman and interim CEO. Lucier was most recently chairman and CEO Life Technologies Corp. before Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. acquired it in February 2014. Lucier has more than 20 years of executive management experience in the medical device industry, including years spent at General Electric.

Lucier "brings extensive experience in growing companies into globally competitive organizations, particularly within the healthcare and biotechnology markets," said Jack R. Blair, lead independent director of the NuVasive board.

NuVasive is expecting to report revenue of more than $190 million for the past three months, and is on track with its profitability targets. Revenue has been growing in recent years, though the company has yet to recover its pre-Great Recession stock value.

"The company's strengths have enabled NuVasive to become the No. 3 player in the global spine market," Lucier said. "Going forward, we will remain focused on market share-taking strategies that have been responsible for driving double-digit revenue growth. At the same time, we will continue to leverage meaningful scale and efficiencies in our business, which are translating to both accelerated profit growth and strong free cash flow."

Refresh your medical device industry knowledge at BIOMEDevice Boston, May 6-7, 2015.

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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