- Roche announced Tuesday that Thomas Schinecker will take over as CEO of its diagnostics business when interim CEO Michael Heuer retires at the end of July.
- Schinecker, currently the head of centralised and point of care solutions for Roche, is a lifer at the company, having joined as a trainee in 2003 following completion of his doctorate in molecular biology from New York University.
- The permanent appointment brings to a close a transitionary period for Roche Diagnostics following the August exit of former CEO Roland Diggelmann, who served in the position for 10 years.
Roche's diagnostics division posted sales of 2.9 billion Swiss francs in the first quarter of 2019 with only 1% growth, due in part to reduced distributor inventory levels in China, consumer ordering patterns in Japan and supply chain impacts from the recall of certain CoaguChek test strips.
FDA warned using the faulty strips, used to monitor warfarin dosing, could lead serious harm or death in some patients due to errors in medication dosage. Warfarin is used to prevent and treat blood clots. On Roche's latest earnings call in April, Heuer said the issue has been resolved.
Heuer also downplayed the long-term impact of the downturn in inventory by the company's China distributors on the earnings call, saying the company has seen positive signs in distributor inventory since March that indicate "the market growth remains very strong."
Roche CEO Severin Schwan applauded Heuer's two decade career at the company, saying he "played a key role in making our company the world's leading provider of diagnostic solutions."
Schwan also praised Schinecker's preparedness for leading Roche's diagnostics unit, noting his international experience. Schinecker has worked for Roche in Austria, Sweden, Germany, Singapore, the U.S. and Switzerland in various capacities ranging from marketing and sales to product development.