Wright Medical’s Compliance Officer resigns before the conclusion of the deferred prosecution agreement
Wright Medical Compliance Officer Resigns (written by Walter Eisner @ OTW)
Lisa L. Michels resigned as Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer of Wright Medical Group Inc., on August 16. The resignation was effective immediately.
In an 8-K filing with the Securities Exchange Commission on August 22, the company stated that Ms. Michels is eligible for severance benefits.
The company’s board of directors will retain a recruiting firm to conduct a national search for a replacement. John Knighton, the company’s Director of Compliance since 2010, was named as interim Chief Compliance Officer. Before joining Wright, Knighton held various compliance roles for pharmaceutical companies.
Noting that Ms. Michels was eligible for severance benefits was in contrast to the announcement in April that former CEO Gary Henley’s abrupt resignation was without “good reason” and was therefore ineligible for severance. Henley’s resignation was followed by the firing of Frank Bono, the company’s chief technology officer and senior vice president for “failing to exhibit appropriate regard for Wright’s ongoing compliance program.”
In May, three more executives left the company. Raymond C. Kolls, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary was replaced by Thomas L. McAllister, who was appointed interim general counsel and secretary. Alicia M. Napoli, vice president, Clinical & Regulatory Affairs, resigned and was replaced by Max K. Mortensen. Aurelio Sahagun now serves as vice president, commercial operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, succeeding Cary P. Hagan. All three executives resigned without good reason, according to the company.
Government Settlement Anticipated
The departure of senior executives is taking place while the company is in the process of concluding a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the U.S. Department of Justice. In May the company notified the government that it discovered that it had violated the DPA earlier in the year.
Company management made very positive comments on their quarterly call with analysts on July 28 about a possible resolution with the Justice Department over the violations.
No further information was provided by the company over the resignation of Ms. Michels or whether the resignation was related to a possible settlement with the government over the acknowledged compliance violations.
Ms. Michels held various regulatory affairs positions in the health care industry since 1999. She began with GE Medical Systems and moved to Baxter Healthcare in 2003 and Smith and Nephew in 2006 before joining Wright in 2008.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1996 and the University of Tulsa College of Law in 1999.