Stephan Rietiker, the chief executive of Centerpulse, formerly Sulzer Medica, is to leave his job immediately.This content was published on July 16, 2002 - 15:32
Erwin Schärer, a Centrepulse spokesman said differences of opinion about company strategy were behind Rietiker's surprise departure after less than one year in the job. The medical device manufacturer announced on Tuesday a management reorganisation, with the chairman of the board, Max Link, taking over as CEO.
The firm, whose headquarters are in Zurich, will now comprise four divisions, with the fifth - the Biologics division - being disbanded and integrated into Centerpulse's other activities.
The company acknowledged that Rietiker had made "substantial contributions" towards the settlement with patients in the United States who received faulty hip and knee implants. The $1 billion (SFr 1.46 billion) settlement will gave the patients up to $200,000.
Centerpulse also announced on Tuesday that just 12 patients have refused to agree to the settlement. After a one-month appeals period, no other claimants have stepped forward.
Some 30,000 people were affected by the implants, which were tainted by a lubricant during their production. The artificial joints failed to bond properly with bone, causing pain for many recipients, most of them elderly, and requiring the replacement of the implants.
swissinfo with agencies