Ex-Optum VP defeats non-compete suit, moves to arbitration

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A U.S. Federal Judge last Friday rejected a motion seeking to block a former Optum VP from joining the newly formed healthcare venture between Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase, according to court documents.

Optum, an IT-based health services unit of UnitedHealth Group, filed a suit against former VP David Smith last month accusing him of printing out a confidential in-depth market analysis moments before printing out his resume to apply for the position at the joint venture. The suit claims that the confidential data was printed the same day he spoke with the venture.

The lawsuit went on to claim that Smith, who resigned in December, also sought confidential information from colleagues not related to his job duties.

In its suit, Optum aimed to keep Smith from joining the venture, nicknamed “ABC”, saying that he could offer trade secrets to the new possible competitor.

In a court document filed last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Judge Mark Wolf denied a temporary restraining order, stayed the case and allowed a motion to move the case to arbitration.

Optum said that it plans to pursue its claims against smith in the arbitration. The joint venture and Smith’s legal team have not commented on the matter.

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UnitedHealth Group’s Optum sues VP who left for Amazon venture

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[Image from Unsplash]

UnitedHealth Group’s Optum IT-based health services unit has sued former VP David Smith, claiming that he misappropriated trade secrets before leaving to join a new healthcare venture supported by Amazon.

Smith’s lawyers are seeking to move the case to arbitration.

The complaint, filed Jan. 16 in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, accuses Smith of printing out a confidential Optum in-depth healthcare market analysis just a minute before printing out his resume. It was the same day that he spoke with the healthcare innovation venture nicknamed ABC, now led by Dr. Atul Gawande and supported by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Smith, who went from being VP of corporate strategy to being VP of product during 18 months at Optum, also sought confidential information from colleagues that was not related to his job duties, according to the lawsuit complaint.

Smith resigned Optum last month to join ABC as director of product strategy and research. Just a day before he told Optum that he planned to resign, he printed out a highly confidential document including product portfolio performance, new product development and a product job family and assessment plan, the complaint said.

“If Smith is permitted to work for ABC, he will inevitably use Optum’s trade secrets to expedite ABC’s development of competitive capabilities and products. Even if those products take more than a year to commercialize, Smith’s assistance in the process of beginning to develop them now is a direct competitive harm to Optum,” Optum’s lawyers said in the complaint.

Optum is seeking an injunction to prevent Smith from working for ABC or divulging trade secrets, as well as damages.

Smith’s lawyers in their own filing argue that the dispute falls under Optum’s employment arbitration policy, so the case should be handled through arbitration, not a lawsuit trial.

Said Smith’s lawyers: “There is no reason for this case to be in court.”

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Gerresheimer taps Metzner as CFO | Personnel Moves – December 14, 2018

Gerresheimer CFO Metzner

Gerresheimer said late last month that it tapped Dr. Bernd Metzner as its new chief financial officer, set to take position at the latest by July 1 next year.

Prior to joining the Dusseldorf-based company, Metzner acted as CFO at Ströer, a position he took up in June 2014. He also held positions at Bayer from 2002 to 2011, holding the CFO position for Bayer Italy and the global CFO position for Bayer’s pharma division.

“In Dr. Bernd Metzner, we have gained a highly experienced chief financial officer for Gerresheimer AG. Along with chief executive officer Dietmar Siemssen and management board member Dr. Lukas Burkhardt, Gerresheimer is led by a strong team who will extend the company’s growth trajectory on a lasting basis,” supervisory board chair Dr. Axel Herberg said in a prepared statement.

“Pharma and cosmetics are highly promising, attractive markets. Gerresheimer is a strong global partner to both of these industries. I look forward to being able to bring my experience to bear at Gerresheimer going forward,” Metzner said in a press release.

 Organovo’s Samsara Sciences CSO & prez Presnell steps away

Organovo (PINK:ONVO) said late last month that its subsidiary Samsara Sciences’ chief scientific officer and president Dr. Sharon Presnell is stepping away from their position.

The move went into effect on December 5, the San Diego, Calif.-based company said in an SEC filing.

The move comes as Dr. Presnell looks to relocate to the east coast to “pursue an opportunity with a non-profit foundation and to be closer to family,” Organovo said.

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 GI Dynamics adds Carter as CFO

GI Dynamics (ASX:GID) said on Tuesday that it named Charles Carter as its new chief financial officer.

In addition to his position as CFO, Carter will also serve as the Boston-based company’s treasurer and will replace Dave Bruce as its secretary. Carter has nearly 16 years of experience as a finance exec in the medical industry, GI Dynamics added.

“I am excited to join the GI Dynamics management team at this exciting time in the company’s development. It is clear that this company is committed to serving the large and rapidly growing population of patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity with an innovative treatment option that is clearly needed,” Carter said in a press release.

“On behalf of the GI Dynamics board of directors, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Carter. We have been working with Mr. Carter for several months now on a more limited basis, and we now look forward to the impact of his expanded leadership role at GI Dynamics as we prepare for the commencement of the GID 18-1 pivotal trial in the U.S. and the EndoBarrier clinical trial in India,” prez & CEO Scott Schorer said in prepared remarks.

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 Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway & JP Morgan HC venture picks up BCBS’s Safran

The healthcare joint venture started by Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan has picked up well-known health insurance exec Dana Gelb Safran as its new head of measurement, according to a CNBC report.

Prior to joining the still unnamed venture, Safran served as chief performance measurement and improvement officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, according to the report.

Safran is slated to begin their role with the company next year, CNBC said.

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 Aethlon appoints Rodell as interim CEO

Aethlon Medical (NSDQ:AEMD) said yesterday it named Dr. Timothy Rodell as its new interim CEO, effective December 10, succeeding James Joyce who will stay on as a consultant during the transition.

Prior to joining Aethlon, Rodell served as prez & CEO of GlobeImmune, San Diego-based Aethlon said.

“We are delighted to welcome Tim to Aethlon. Tim’s depth and breadth of experience in financing, structuring corporate deals, clinical development and regulatory strategy, both in the U.S. and internationally, will be of great value as we prepare Aethlon for the next phase of development. On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jim Joyce for his leadership, commitment and accomplishments as chief executive officer.  We wish him continued success in his future endeavors,” board chair Dr. Charles Fisher, Jr. said in a press release.

“I am both honored and thrilled to join Aethlon at this time. I believe the Aethlon Hemopurifier has great potential for treating life-threatening viral infections and potentially cancer.  I look forward to working with the team at Aethlon and its collaborators to continue to advance the science and in an effort to bring important treatments to patients and create value for shareholders,” Dr. Rodell said in a prepared statement.

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Report: Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan Chase health play struggles to find CEO

The joint healthcare venture between Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase that looks to lower costs and improve health insurance is struggling to find the right individual to fill the corner office, according to a CNBC report.

The joint venture began searching for a CEO after announcing its launch in January, according to the report, meeting potential candidates by phone and in person in Omaha, Nebraska, where Berkshire Hathaway resides, and in New York, where J.P. Morgan is based.

The group considered health insurance and policy experts, including ex-Aetna exec Gary Loveman and former CMS chief Andy Slavitt, CNBC reports, but none were selected.

Interest has shifted to individuals with an entrepreneurial background in tech and health who are removed from involvement in health insurance and drug supply, according to the report. A recent top choice for the group is Grand Rounds Health CEO Owen Tripp, who runs a medical second-opinion service start-up, though Tripp is reportedly committed to his current position.

Warren Buffet, Berkshire CEO and major player in the combined group, said during an investor meeting for the JV that they hoped to have a chief exec “within a couple of months,” according to CNBC.

Whoever is chosen will have a significant task ahead of them, managing a combined 1.2 million employees across the three companies in a multitrillion-dollar industry, according to the report.

The group announced the venture in January, and sent shares in major health insurers UnitedHealth and Anthem down in response.

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Medtronic taps former JP Morgan analyst Weinstein for strategy SVP | Personnel Moves – May 7, 2018

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) said today it tapped former J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. analyst Mike Weinstein as its strategy senior VP.

Prior to joining Medtronic, Weinstein served as a managing director for JP Morgan’s equity research healthcare team, holding positions within the unit for more than 20 years, the Fridley, Minn.-based company said.

“We are excited to welcome Mike to Medtronic. He is deeply respected within the industry and brings with him vast knowledge of our markets, technologies, and growth strategies. I look forward to his contributions to the company, including his expert guidance and insights, as well as the new perspective he will bring to our organization,” Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak said in a press release.

“Mike brings unique and deep insights of the medical device and technology space to Medtronic, developed during a distinguished career in equity research at J.P. Morgan. He will serve as an integral advisor and partner to our senior leaders, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team,” Medtronic CFO Karen Parkhill said in a prepared statement.

Weinstein joined JP Morgan in 1992, and moved to become the senior medical technology analyst in 1996, Medtronic said. He will assume his position at Medtronic immediately.

“I see in Medtronic the opportunity to continue to create significant shareholder value, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the global leader in medical technology and contribute to its Mission. Having covered Medtronic for more than two decades now, I have full confidence in the outlook and the strategy, and our ability to unlock that value in the months and years ahead,” Weinstein said in a prepared release.

 Endologix lifts COO Onopchenko to the corner office

Endologix (NSDQ:ELGX) said last Wednesday it lifted former COO John Onopchenko to the role of chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Onopchenko served as COO since last October, the Irvine, Calif.-based company said. Prior to joining Endologix, Onopchenko acted as exec VP for Acutus Medical, and has held positions including COO at Volcano.

Onopchenko also spent 10 years at Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) leading medical device investments with J&J’s Development Corporation, and held positions with General Electric (NYSE:GE) Medical, Endologix said.

“We are very pleased to welcome John as our chief executive officer. Over the course of the past seven months in the COO role, John has shown the board first hand that he is an exceptional operator with significant manufacturing, clinical, and regulatory experience. His proven skills in scaling and improving productivity in global commercial organizations at Johnson & Johnson and GE Medical and as a medical device venture capitalist give us confidence in his ability to lead Endologix on an exciting path forward. Separately, on behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank John McDermott for his invaluable contributions to Endologix and for making this transition as smooth as possible,” board chair Dan Lemaitre said in a prepared statement.

“I am honored to be named chief executive officer of Endologix. Since joining the company as COO, I have been deeply involved in the operations of the organization, and I’m excited about the bright future that Endologix has ahead of it. I am looking forward to further advancing the company’s innovative portfolio, enhancing its credibility and reputation with our physicians and customers, and building a culture of accountability, with the ultimate goal of delivering value to our stakeholders around the globe,” Onopchenko said in a press release.

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 Henry Schein names Connett as US medical head

Henry Schein (NSDQ:HSIC) said last week it appointed Brad Connett as its new US Medical Group president, lifting them from their previous position as US Medical commercial group prez.

“Brad has distinguished himself throughout his entire career, and he has been one of the architects of the remarkable growth that Henry Schein Medical has enjoyed in recent years. Brad’s new appointment reflects his excellence as a senior leader and his ability to drive continued growth,” board chair & CEO Stanley Bergman said in a press release.

Connett joined Henry Schein in 1997 after the company acquired Roane-Barker, the company said.

“Throughout the years, Henry Schein Medical has partnered with health care organizations to drive the development and execution of non-acute supply chain strategies. Brad’s strategic vision, deep-rooted industry knowledge, and wide network will advance our ability to deliver innovative solutions that helps our medical professionals operate efficient and profitable practices,” CCO David McKinley said in a prepared statement.

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 Patterson Dental NA prez Misiak steps away

Patterson Dental (NSDQ:PDCO) said last week its North America president is leaving his role on May 11 to pursue a new opportunity.

The company said it will engage in a search for a new dental segment leader, and during the transition the dental biz will report to Mark Walchirk.

“We are grateful to Dave for his many contributions to Patterson during his 22 years with our dental business, and I thank him for his support during my transition. On behalf of Patterson, we wish him the best in his future endeavors,” prez & CEO Mark Walchirk said in a prepared release.

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 Ex-Alere CFO Hinrichs leaves the healthcare field

Former Alere (NYSE:ALR) exec VP and CFO Jim Hinrichs has exited the healthcare industry, taking a position as CFO of plant breeding and production company Cibus.

During his time at Alere, Hinrichs initiated a performance improvement program looking to save over $150 million through integration, standardization and scale-building projects, according to a Cibus release. He also held a CFO position with CareFusion, Cibus said.

“Jim’s leadership will take Cibus to the next level as we execute sales for our robust pipeline of food and agricultural products. His impressive experience in the healthcare and biotech industries offers a well-rounded perspective and will bolster Cibus’ expanding presence in the agriculture industry,” Cibus prez & CEO Peter Beetham said in a press release.

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