Smith & Nephew chief to depart amid pay dispute claims

The boss of medical devices firm Smith & Nephew has announced plans to step down following a reported row over executive pay.

Namal Nawana is quitting as chief executive less than 18 months after joining the company from US diagnostics firm Alere.

His departure is the latest in a string of exits by FTSE 100 chiefs since the start of 2019.

Smith & Nephew announced that Roche Diagnostics’ boss Roland Diggelmann will take over as chief executive from the start of next month.

Mr Nawana’s departure follows reports that Smith & Nephew was mulling plans to move its share listing to the US to partly escape the UK’s stricter attitudes towards over pay for executives.

In June, it was reported that the company wanted to narrow the gap between Mr Nawana’s pay at former company Alere and his role at Smith & Nephew.

In a statement, the medical products business said his departure was decided by “mutual agreement” to allow Mr Nawana to pursue other opportunities outside the UK.

The company said the departing chief had been “instrumental” in accelerating revenue growth and profitability across the business.

Mr Nawana said: “There is clear momentum behind our strategy laid out last year, underlined by the company’s performance generated by our team during 2019.

“I am proud to be leaving Smith & Nephew in a strong position for the next phase of its development.”

Mr Diggelmann said: “I am honoured to have been asked to lead Smith & Nephew at an exciting time for the business.

“As non-executive director I have seen first-hand the strength of the group’s people and its portfolio of leading technologies.

“I look forward to playing my part in shaping the future of the company and driving the next stage of growth.”

Shares in the company dived on the back of the announcement, falling 7.5% to 1,691p in early trading.

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