The business on...Olivier Bohuon, Chief executive, Smith & Nephew


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The Independent Online

Some creaky joints at Smith & Nephew?

You could say that. Olivier Bohuon was only appointed as chief executive in February after the surprise departure of the much-respected David Illingworth.

Yesterday he unveiled a third-quarter trading profit of $205m (£128m) that missed City forecasts by nearly $20m. The trouble was caused by margins getting squeezed in the key orthopedic's division.


Yes. Not a happy place for a business with a history of exceeding expectations. Mr Bohuon is promising some tough medicine in the form of cost cuts. Medicines are what he knows well, having joined the group from Pierre Fabre, a small drugs company in the South of France, which he'd only been running for a few months having replaced former GlaxoSmithKline boss Jean-Pierre Garnier.

Why did a hip-replacement firm pick a pharma person?

Well, Mr Bohuon is well acquainted with an industry that endures tough regulation and that's a malady that Smith & Nephew may soon be suffering Before Pierre Fabre, he'd worked at GSK and Abbott, both of which are global giants.

So lots of contacts if he needs help?

You mean help from a buyer? Despite constant rumours to that effect, with many pointing to the world's biggest healthcare group Johnson & Johnson, Smith & Nephew has shown precious little appetite for doing a deal. Mr Bohuon may want to stay a while, too, after such a short spell at Pierre Fabre.

A clever chap?

He holds a doctorate from the University of Paris and an MBA from Haute Études Commerciales, perhaps France's most prestigious business school. He'll need some of those smarts to deliver on his promise of "material improvements" from the fourth quarter.