The global man for the job

Elizabeth Fournier
AFTER leaving his post at the helm of French pharmaceuticals and cosmetics company Pierre-Fabre a few weeks ago, Olivier Bohuon will step into David Illingworth’s shoes at Smith & Nephew on 1 April.

Bohuon had been at Pierre-Fabre just five months when he stepped down, having succeeded Jean-Pierre Garnier in September last year. He previously worked with Garnier at Abbott, where Bohuon headed up the pharmaceutical products unit.

Bohuon brings an international twist to the top of Smith & Nephew, having spent time in France, the UK and Saudi Arabia during his career.

Before joining Abbott he spent ten years at GlaxoSmithKline, and was president of SmithKline Beecham at the time of its merger with Glaxo Wellcome in 2000.

His appointment is likely to reignite takeover speculation, and analysts have pointed out that his heavily pharmaceuticals-focused background could drive a change in direction for Smith & Nephew.

Illingworth’s legacy at Smith & Nephew will be the three-year earnings improvement drive he led at the UK firm, turning it round from a $80m revenue warning it issued in 2007 following the discovery of “unacceptable sales practices” at Plus, the Swiss orthopaedics group it had acquired in 2006.