New leadership for Cochlear

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New leadership for leading Australian medical technology company Cochlear with Dig Howitt succeeding current CEO Chris Smith.

In a statement, the company confirmed Mr Smith, who has led the company since 2015, will retire and be replaced with Mr Howitt, who has served as the company's Chief Operating Officer since July 2016.

According to the company, Mr Howitt has been part of a succession process.

Cochlear’s Chairman, Rick Holliday-Smith, said, “We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dig Howitt as President of Cochlear. Dig joined Cochlear in 2000 and has been a key member of the leadership team for many years. He has a wealth of experience across the company in roles including Chief Operating Officer; President, Asia Pacific; and SVP, Manufacturing and Logistics.”

Mr Howitt will immediately replace Mr Smith as President and will become CEO when Mr Smith retires in January.

He said it was a great honour for him to be appointed Cochlear CEO and President.

“Cochlear is an incredible company with market leading technology and passionate and committed employees. Together with our professional partners, we have a positive impact on many people’s lives every day. The company is well positioned with a high quality executive team and a well-established strategic direction. Our business priorities of growing the core, building a service business, shaping the organisation and value creation, remain our priorities.”

On the retirement of Mr Smith, Mr Holliday-Smith said, “Chris has overseen a period of substantial growth for Cochlear with the company exceeding a billion dollars in annual sales revenue during his time as CEO. With his leadership team, Chris has focused the strategic priorities on the customer and reorganised the management team around growth initiatives for a sustainable future. Chris will leave the company and its management in a strong position. The Board and management wish Chris well in his retirement and thank him for his substantial contributions during a distinguished thirteen-year career at Cochlear.”

Mr Smith said, “Over the last several years I have been honoured to lead a company that has positively impacted the lives of so many patients, and to work with an amazing team of people within our company and industry. Cochlear has clear momentum in its business, a well-defined strategy and a strong leadership team. It is a good time to transition out of the company.”