AMSTERDAM--Philips Chief Executive Frans van Houten will leave the company in October, the Dutch health technology firm said on Tuesday, after a key product recall cut its market value by more than half over the past year.
Philips said Van Houten would be replaced on Oct. 15 by Roy Jakobs, head of the company's Connected Care businesses. Van Houten's third term as CEO had been due to end in April.
Jakobs, 48, is currently overseeing the company's recall of millions of ventilators and machines for the treatment of sleep apnea. That process has lopped almost $30 billion off Philips' value as investors fear large claims. "The time is right for the change in leadership," Philips said in a statement.
Philips shares were up 2% in afternoon trading, but are still down almost 60% since its warning in June 2021 that foam used for sound dampening might release toxic gases that could carry cancer risks. When it started the recall in September last year, Philips said it expected to complete the replacement and repair of all affected machines within a year. But after broadening the scope of the operation to around 5.5 million devices worldwide, Philips in June said the work was only around halfway done.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January classified the recall as Class 1, or the most serious type, posing a threat of injury or death. The FDA said on Tuesday it had received 48,000 new Medical Device Reports containing complaints about potential injuries related to the Philips devices, including 44 deaths, between May 1 and July 31 this year.
That is more than twice as many reports as it received for the entire year to April 30, 2022, which totalled over 21,000. They included 124 deaths.
The FDA said it would analyse the reports and examine the possible reasons for the increased number. The complaints do not prove causality, but are an indicator of the severity of the problem. Philips in June said it had supplied the FDA with evidence from independent tests on the recalled devices which showed foam degradation was mainly linked to the use of aggressive, unauthorised ozone-based cleaning products.