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St. Jude Medical CEO to Step Down

Daniel Starks will stay on as executive chairman of the board, with chief financial officer Michael Rousseau replacing him as president and CEO.

Chris Newmarker

Daniel Starks St. Jude Medical
Daniel Starks has been St. Jude Medical's president and CEO since May 2004.

St. Jude Medical announced Wednesday that it will start 2016 with a change at the helm of the company.

Effective January 1, Daniel Starks will step down as president and CEO after an 11-year tenure leading the Little Canada, MN-based cardiovascular and neuromodulation device maker; Starks has been elected executive chairman of the company's board.

St. Jude is promoting from within for Starks replacement.  Michael Rousseau, an executive at the company for 16 years, became chief operating officer last year.

Starks, who was 60 at the end of March, leaves the corner office on a high note. Under his leadership, St. Jude Medical grew from $1.9 billion in annual revenue in 2003 to more than $5.6 billion in annual revenue in 2014. The company's stock has been one of the best-performing medical device company stocks of 2015, up 9% over the first nine months of the year.

"St. Jude Medical is moving forward with this leadership succession from a position of strength and, because of this, we believe it's the right time to make this transition," Starks said in a news release.

St. Jude Medical this year has been in the process of acquiring major LVAD maker Thoratec for $3.4 billion. The deal is part of St. Jude's strategy to expand and enhance its established presence in heart failure therapies. The company already has its quadripolar cardiac resynchronization therapy and remote monitoring capabilities. The CardioMEMS device, which St. Jude spent $375 million to acquire amid its FDA approval last year, is about the size of a paper clip and uses MEMS technology originally designed to monitor jet engines to remotely monitor a heart failure patient's pulmonary artery pressure.

"With our recent acquisitions and our strong, robust product pipeline, I am focused on remaining steadfast in our commitment to innovation and growth so that we can continue Dan's legacy of bringing the right solutions at the right time to our customers, while improving patient outcomes and reducing health care costs," Rousseau said. "This is an exciting time for our industry, and I am highly confident in our ability to continue to deliver technologies that transform patient care in markets around the world."

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at MD&M Philadelphia, October 7-8.

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

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