It would seem that the board of directors at orthopedics company Biomet
While the wording in the press release and the subsequent conference call seemed fairly deliberate to this Fool, I've still got to wonder about what's going on behind the curtain. Specifically, I can't help but wonder whether there was significant disagreement between the board and Mr. Miller -- perhaps culminating in an "either you jump or we push" sort of ultimatum. After all, most long-serving CEO's, to say nothing of company founders, are usually awarded a "victory lap" of sorts -- a period of transition, if you will, between the announced intention to retire and the transfer to a new person.
There are certainly legitimate reasons to cast a few stones at the company under Miller's leadership. For instance, rival Stryker
On the other hand, this is a good company, and I think Miller deserves at least some of the credit for building an enterprise worth well more than $8 billion. The question now, though, is whether the company can take the next step and compete toe-to-toe with the big boys. And in fact, that might also have been part of the disagreement (assuming there was one) between the CEO and the board -- perhaps some within the company want to consider selling out. Miller wouldn't be the first company founder to be resistant to that sort of idea.
In terms of what to do with the stock, I really don't think this change makes the stock dramatically more, or less, attractive than before. I like Biomet as something of a "do better" story (that is, it's not really in need of a turnaround, but it could do better), but Stryker and Zimmer both look like somewhat better values today, with Stryker being my personal preference.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).