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Executive Spotlights

Philips Names New CEO Who Has Led Respiratory Device Recall

New York City, NY, August 16, 2020 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Philips NV said Roy Jakobs, who has been leading the company’s response to a recall of medical gear, will take over as new chief executive officer.

Jakobs will become CEO in October, succeeding Frans van Houten who’s been in the top role for 12 years and nearing the end of a third term, the Dutch maker of medical devices said Tuesday.

The executive, with previous roles at Shell Plc, is “deeply involved in Philips’ continuous quality improvement initiatives and is fully committed to patient safety,” Chairman Feike Sijbesma said in a statement.

Philips rose as much as 2.7% in Amsterdam. The shares are down around 39% this year.

“It’s always difficult of course to let go after raising the company that I have a lot of passion for for so long,” van Houten said on a call with reporters, adding that it was not his intention to stay longer. “It is a logical moment to hand over after 12 years, it is a planned process.”

Recall Expert

Jakobs joined Philips in 2010 and was put in charge of turning around the company’s Connected Care businesses in early 2020, managing the response to the Covid-19 crisis. The following year, he took on responsibility for a recall of medical devices to treat sleep apnea.

Philips continues to face court cases over noise-dampening foam inside ventilators that treat sleep apnea. Users have alleged that inhaling the foam after it disintegrates poses a cancer risk. The company started its first recall of the devices last June and has made financial provisions of around 885 million euros ($900 million).

“While I am proud of our many accomplishments, much remains to be done to enhance the resilience of Philips to manage through current setbacks and adverse market conditions,” van Houten said.

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