Stryker names J&J lawyer as chief legal officer
Stryker has named former Johnson & Johnson executive Rob Fletcher as its new chief legal officer.
Fletcher spent 15 years at J&J, taking on jobs including general counsel for medical devices en route to the role of worldwide vice president of litigation.
Stryker hired Fletcher to replace Mike Hutchinson, who will serve as advisor to the CEO for up to 13 months before leaving the company.
Fletcher has spent most of his career in industry at J&J. After a four-year stint at GE Engine Services, Fletcher joined J&J device subsidiary Ethicon Endo-Surgery as VP of law in 2004. From there, Fletcher went on to take a role at DePuy Synthes, another J&J unit, before becoming general counsel for the healthcare giant's whole medical device business in 2013.
J&J last promoted Fletcher in January, handing him the title of worldwide VP of litigation, but he is set to leave the role after just four months. Fletcher will join Stryker on April 22.
Stryker is moving on Hutchinson to create the role for Fletcher. Hutchinson has spent a decade at Stryker, rising to a position that gives him oversight of global legal and compliance functions. He will now serve as an advisor to the CEO until the end of May 2020.
Hutchinson will hand Fletcher a portfolio featuring several ongoing cases. Stryker filings confirm the company is still engaged in the dispute against Zimmer Biomet it began in 2010 over three patents related to wound cleaning devices. The case has gone as high as the Supreme Court, with courts siding with Stryker along the way, but is yet to be settled definitively. Zimmer filed a petition to seek a rehearing in January.
Stryker also faces product liability lawsuits related to recalls of Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck hip stems and LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Heads. Fletcher's time at J&J covered a period in which the company faced multiple lawsuits related to its hip implants.
Stryker will pay Hutchinson his $545,000-a-year salary, plus bonuses, while he serves as advisor. If Hutchinson is still in the advisor role at the end of May 2020, he will receive a further $170,000. The payments compensate Hutchinson for "the applicable post-termination obligations," most notably for entering into certain non-competition provisions, according to Stryker.