Reckitt Snares Smith & Nephew CFO

LONDON -- This morning brought news that Adrian Hennah, chief financial officer at Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN.L  ) , is to leave the global medical technology business at the end of December 2012 to take the place of current Reckitt Benckiser  (LSE: RB.L  ) CFO, Liz Doherty, who is stepping down from the role.

Doherty will stay with consumer goods company Reckitt until March 2013 in order to help ensure a smooth transition, while Smith & Nephew's search for a successor to Hennah is underway.

Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive officer at Reckitt, said: 

I am pleased to welcome Adrian Hennah as CFO. His global experience, especially in the health care industry, will be very valuable as we execute our strategy of extending our health and hygiene Powerbrands internationally, with a particular focus on emerging markets.

I want to thank Liz for her excellent support over the past two years. She has strengthened our finance function around the world, and has been instrumental in helping to ensure a smooth CEO transition for the business. However, Liz and I have agreed that RB's and her way of working are not as well matched as either of us would like, and now is the right time for her to move to a new opportunity.

Olivier Bohuon, Smith & Nephew CEO, commented: "I would like to thank Adrian for his outstanding commitment and dedication to Smith & Nephew over the last six years, and, more personally, for the support he has offered me since I joined.  Adrian has made a significant contribution to the company's performance and strategy, and I know that my colleagues will join me in wishing him every success in his new role."

Adrian Hennah said: "I've hugely enjoyed the last six years at Smith & Nephew and am very proud to have been part of such an outstanding organization.  The Company is performing strongly with a reinvigorated strategic direction and a strong balance sheet.  I now feel that this is an appropriate time for me to take the next step in my career.  I wish Olivier and everyone else at Smith & Nephew all the best for the future."

Shares in Reckitt this morning were up 1% -- or 35 pence -- to 3,607 pence on the news, at the time of writing, with Smith & Nephew's share price little changed.

Interestingly, both Smith & Nephew and Reckitt Benckiser are owned by City super-investor Neil Woodford, the U.K.'s leading equity income fund manager. Woodford has previously highlighted the importance of strong management in the companies he favors, and this morning's news only serves to underline that. With Woodford's portfolios having thrashed the FTSE 100 during the 15 years to 2011, it's worth checking out this free Motley Fool report -- which can be downloaded for a limited time only -- put together by our analysts. It reviews Woodford's favorite blue chip shares for 2013 and beyond, is absolutely free and will be delivered to your inbox immediately.

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Sam Robson owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Smith & Nephew. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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