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Beckman Leader Drops ‘Interim’

Beckman Coulter Inc. has a familiar face at the helm as it starts life as part of Danaher Corp.

J. Robert Hurley, who has served as Brea-based Beckman’s interim leader since September, is set to remain as chief executive, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The company makes machines and chemicals used by hospitals and medical laboratories running tests for doctors. Medical researchers also use its products.

Beckman has annual sales of more than $3 billion and is one of the county’s foremost medical device makers.

Danaher, a Washington, D.C.-based conglomerate known for Craftsman tools sold at Sears stores, struck a deal to buy Beckman for $6.8 billion in February, ending several months of jockeying for the company.

The deal closed last week.

Danaher bought Beck-man to add to its growing healthcare business, which accounts for $2.3 billion of the company’s more than $13 billion in yearly sales.

Hurley joined Beckman in 2005 and had served as senior vice president of human resources. He played a major role in the company’s 2009 buy of Olympus Corp.’s medical diagnostic business and subsequent integration.

Hurley was elevated to interim chief executive late last year after former boss Scott Garrett resigned.


Several other members of Beckman’s Office of the President—an executive leadership group set up by Garrett—won’t be staying on.

Chief Financial Officer Charles Slacik, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Arnold Pinkston and Robert Kleinert, executive vice president, worldwide commercial operations, are departing, according to Beckman’s SEC filing.

Scott Atkin, formerly Beckman’s executive vice president of chemistry, discovery and instrument systems development, now is president of Beckman’s life science division, the company’s largest.

Beckman declined to comment for this story.

Streamlining and job cuts were expected as a result of the acquisition. Even so, Danaher has a track record of keeping businesses intact after buying them.

“You don’t often see the Danaher name, quite by design,” said H. Lawrence Culp, Danaher’s chief executive, during a presentation earlier this month at a healthcare conference by Stamford, Conn.-based investment bank Jefferies & Co.

Danaher tends to buy well-known brands, “so we preserve them and have built them up,” Culp said.

Sybron Dental Specialties Inc., a maker of dental products that’s moving from Orange to Anaheim, is an example. For the most part, Sybron has operated on its own and retained its identity since Danaher bought it for $2 billion five years ago.

“We are thrilled to be … bringing on what we believe to be an iconic franchise” with Beckman, Culp said.

“Very Keen”

Danaher is “very keen to get going” on integrating Beckman after the deal closes, Culp said.

To show how Danaher plans to integrate Beckman, Culp cited some previous deals, including 2009’s $1.1 billion purchase of Northern California’s AB Sciex, a maker of spectrometers used to study the interaction of matter and radiated energy.

“The playbook here was really straightforward,” Culp said about how Danaher integrated AB Sciex into its fold.

The company rebranded AB Sciex and invested money, sales and service time behind the project, he said.

Danaher “worked very deliberately to make sure we were expanding the growth opportunities available to AB Sciex,” Culp said.

Those included coming out with products and getting more money into emerging markets such as China.

Tough 2010

Beckman put itself up for sale after a difficult 2010 that was beset with challenges, including a Food and Drug Administration recall, financial result revisions and, ultimately, Garrett’s resignation.

But Beckman recently “achieved a significant milestone in correcting quality issues,” said Jon Wood, a Jeffries analyst who hosted Culp’s talk, in a research note.

Beckman received a notice earlier this month that the FDA closed a recall it initiated in early 2010, brought on by problems within a component of its UniCel DxC testing system that could cause erroneous results.

“Most importantly, the decision should swiftly improve (Beckman’s) customer retention and win rates for its U.S. clinical chemistry business,” analyst Wood said.

Danaher’s forecasts for Beckman figure a full rebound in Beckman’s domestic clinical chemistry business by 2013.

Danaher has been raising money to complete the Beckman buy.

The company recently made a $1.8 billion, three-part bond offering. Danaher also is using money raised from a 17.5 million-share offering.

The company expects net proceeds of about $875 million.

New Directors

Danaher has appointed one of its executives and others to serve on Beckman’s board.

They include Chief Financial Officer Daniel Comas, James Ditkoff, Jonathan Graham, Robert Lutz and Daniel Raskas.

Prior directors, including Charles Haggerty and Glenn Schafer, stepped down with the end of its run as a publicly traded company.

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