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MacMillan Suddenly Departs as Stryker's CEO

In a shocking bit of news that is sure to have the attendees at this week’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons buzzing, Stephen P. MacMillan has resigned as chairman, president and CEO of Stryker Corp.

According to a release from the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based company, the sudden move was made "for family reasons" and will be effective immediately.

Curt Hartman, vice president and chief financial officer, has been named interim CEO, and William U. Parfet, the company's lead independent director will become non-executive chairman. The company's board has begun a search for a permanent successor to MacMillan and will consider both internal and external candidates.

"The board is thankful for Steve's leadership over the past nine years as the company has continued to grow in the midst of a difficult economic period," said Parfet. "We understand and support his decision to step down for family reasons and wish him well in his future endeavors. Stryker is fortunate to have a strong and deep executive leadership team, and we are pleased that Curt Hartman has agreed to step into the Interim CEO role,"

Despite the suddenness of the departure, the bottom line is never far from view. Parfet added: "The board is excited about the company's strategic direction and our commitment to delivering double-digit adjusted per share earnings growth."

MacMillan said: "It has been an enormous privilege to have led Stryker during this period of important change and growth. As I look ahead to the next chapter in my life, I remain confident that the team will continue to execute Stryker's strategy with distinction and that the company will enjoy continued success in the future."

"With our highly engaged workforce and broad product offering we are well positioned to meet the needs of patients, physicians and our hospital customers," said Mr. Hartman. "We remain focused on driving solid top line growth that delivers leveraged earnings with a continued emphasis on quality and innovation in order to maximize shareholder value."

Curt Hartman began his career with Stryker in 1990 and has progressed through a variety of leadership positions over the last 22 years, including six years as global president of Stryker Instruments. In April 2009, he was named vice president and chief financial officer. Hartman holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

William Parfet has been a director of Stryker for almost 20 years. He is currently the chairman and CEO of MPI Research, Inc., a drug safety and pharmaceutical development company, and has served in that role since 1999.

In late January, the company posted $8.31 billion in sales for 2011, 13.5 percent more than the $7.32 billion it recorded for 2010.

Net earnings grew 5.7 percent, to $1.35 billion, or $3.45 earned per diluted share, compared to $1.27 billion, or $3.19 per diluted share, in 2010. Net earnings for 2011 included a $15 million fee the company paid early in the year to settle charges of off-label marketing of a pair of bone-healing products. Notably, for the fourth quarter, Medical device-maker Stryker Corp. reported a 36 percent spike in net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Adjusted earnings hit nearly $1.45 billion, or $3.72 per share, an 11.7 percent increase from $3.33 in 2010. Analysts had forecast adjusted earnings per share of $3.73. Most of the year's progress came via strategic acquisitions. Mergers were responsible for a 6.7 percent increase in Stryker's net sales in 2011.

"Despite the challenging economic environment, our results for 2011 underscore the inherent strength afforded by our balanced diversification," MacMillan said at the time. "We have built on the breadth of our sales footprint with the addition of several targeted acquisitions which further expand our product offering in the medical technology market."

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