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Canepa to quit as Nobel Biocare boss

Canepa turned Nobel Biocare into a world leader Keystone

Award-winning entrepreneur Heliane Canepa is to step down as chief executive of dental implant manufacturer Nobel Biocare.

This content was published on July 30, 2007 - 13:01

Canepa, who has been credited with building the company into the world's leading maker of dental implants, will be replaced by former Syngenta executive Domenica Scala on September 1.

Nobel Biocare said the succession had been planned a year ago so that the handover could be "executed in time and in a position of strength".

Shares in the Swiss-Swedish enterprise dipped on the news, but chairman Rolf Soiron tried to calm market jitters by ruling out wholesale changes to the way Nobel Biocare was run under Canepa's successful stewardship.

"You should not expect a 180-degree change in strategy. Of course, Mr Scala will want to put his own focus. You have to give him, as with every other new CEO, 100 days before he can say where that focus lies."

Canepa's decision to step down will end six highly successful years leading the company, during which time she was twice named Swiss entrepreneur of the year by the Swiss financial press.

She was also named as the sixth most-influential female boss in Europe in 2005 by the Financial Times newspaper. More recently, she has enjoyed more exposure in Switzerland with the television programme Start-up.

Proud record

Under the leadership of Heliane Canepa Nobel Biocare has developed from a pure manufacturer of dental implants into a comprehensive provider of dental solutions, the company said in a statement.

It added that turnover of the company had more than doubled, the operating margin had increased from 14 per cent to 34 per cent and market capitalisation had multiplied by six.

The 42-year-old Scala will step into her shoes after a month-long handover process. The former finance chief of Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta, Scala has also held positions at Roche, Nestlé and the forwarding company Panalpina.

Nobel Biocare ran into problems in 2005 when a medical report in Sweden expressed fears that a dental implant product could lead to jaw bone loss. But the Swedish authorities relaxed a health warning after Nobel Biocare changed instructions about the implant's use.

"I am glad to hand over Nobel Biocare to my successor in a strong shape and well equipped for the future," Canepa said in a statement.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Nobel Biocare is the world's leading tooth implant manufacturer.
It is domiciled in Zurich, with headquarters in Zurich and Gothenburg, Sweden. Production takes place at four locations in Sweden and in the United States.
Nobel Biocare employs about 1,650 people.
The enterprise recorded revenues of €600 million in 2006 (+24% compared with the previous year) and a net profit of €158 million (+2,2%).
Earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) rose around 25,8% to €204 million.

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Heliane Canepa

Heliane Canepa was born in Dornbirn, Austria in 1948.

She first came to attention as boss of medical technology firm Schneider, whose head office in Bülach was closed after it was sold to Boston Scientific in 1999.

The closure was resisted to the end and the company took care to ensure that all 500 redundant workers found new jobs.

In 2001 Canepa was named as boss of Nobel Biocare that had its head office in Gothenburg. Canepa was distinguished twice (1995 and 2000) as Swiss Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Financial Times newspaper ranked her as the sixth most successful woman boss in Europe in 2005 (from a list of 25).

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