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Livanova names J&J veteran Vladimir Makatsaria as CEO

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Name: Vladimir Makatsaria

New title: CEO, Livanova

Previous title: Company group chairman, Johnson & Johnson MedTech

Livanova has appointed Johnson & Johnson veteran Vladimir Makatsaria as CEO, the company announced Monday. Makatsaria spent almost 30 years at J&J, rising to the top of its global Ethicon surgery business.

William Kozy, chair of the board at Livanova, has led the manufacturer of head and heart devices on an interim basis since Damien McDonald resigned in AprilKozy will continue as board chair.

Livanova initially predicted the search for a new CEO would take six to nine months. Makatsaria is set to take up his new post on March 1, nearly 11 months after McDonald resigned.

Kozy discussed what Livanova was looking for in a CEO in May, telling investors on a quarterly results conference call that “great strategic capability” was “top of the list” of desired attributes. Livanova wanted a CEO with the ability to align longer-term strategic thinking to “really favorable operating acumen,” Kozy said. Cost discipline and operational excellence were just as important as being “really talented looking around the corner,” the interim CEO said.

Makatsaria held a series of regional positions at J&J before becoming the head of its global Ethicon business in 2018.

The new CEO will inherit a business that has committed to closing its circulatory support unit and focusing on larger, faster-growing cardiopulmonary and neuromodulation opportunities by the end of the year.

Exactly what growth opportunities Livanova can pursue under Makatsaria will depend on the results of clinical trials. Livanova expects to publish data from a clinical trial of its vagus nerve stimulation device in treatment-resistant depression “by late 2024,” Kozy said in November, and is testing its implantable hypoglossal neurostimulator in obstructive sleep apnea.

Nick Paul Taylor

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