Healius chief executive Maxine Jaquet resigns, CFO to take reigns after profit downgrade

Cheyanne Enciso
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Healius chief executive Maxine Jaquet has resigned.
Healius chief executive Maxine Jaquet has resigned. Credit: Healius/Healius

Healius chief executive Maxine Jaquet has quit after 12 months in the role as the healthcare giant commences a wide-ranging strategic review following another profit downgrade.

The company on Tuesday announced Ms Jaquet had resigned to “pursue other opportunities” and chief financial officer Paul Anderson would take over immediately.

As a priority, Mr Anderson — who was previously chief executive of Network 10 and executive vice president of ViacomCBS Networks in Australia and New Zealand — would lead the strategic review aimed at maximising shareholder value in a changing diagnostics markets.

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This will be undertaken in conjunction with Healius’ ongoing Pathology Transformation Reset Program.

Shares in the pathology provider have traded as high as $5 in late 2021 to close as low as $1.09 late last month.

But investors welcomed the news on Tuesday, with shares up 14.7 per cent to $1.29 just before 1pm.

Ms Jaquet joined Healius in 2015 and was chief financial officer from August 2019 until she was appointed as chief executive in March last year following Malcolm Parmenter’s resignation.

Healius interim chair Kate McKenzie thanked Ms Jaquet for leading the company through a difficult period of medical diagnostic companies post-COVID.

Under her reign, Ms Jaquet oversaw the $1.6 billion takeover offer from Australian Clinical Labs last March, which was blocked by the competition regulator in December.

“I could not be prouder of the group of people I have worked with at Healius, particularly for their tireless work through the COVID pandemic performing crucial tests that kept Australia operating as smoothly as possible,” Ms Jaquet in a statement.

“Our team members do important and lifesaving work every day and I wish them all the best.”

Across Australia, Healius operates 2000 pathology collection centres for blood and urine tests, 100 medical laboratories and about 150 imaging sites.

In WA, it has 10 laboratories and 205 collection centres, through brands such as Western Diagnostic Pathology, Lumus Imaging and Vetpath Laboratory Services.

Ms McKenzie said Mr Anderson had a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges Healius faced to create shareholder value.

“Paul is an experienced business leader with an extensive background in industries facing significant disruption,” Ms McKenzie said.

“He has strong credentials to lead the strategic review of Healius and we are pleased he has agreed to take on the CEO role as we plan and execute this nextstage for our business.”

Healius said it would engage investment banking advisors to help undertake the review alongside management and the board.

“Healius is a leader in diagnostics in Australia, with an attractive suite of assets across Australia,” Ms McKenzie said.

“We will now undertake a methodical review of Healius’ operations to ensure they are structured in the optimal way to benefit our millions of customers and our shareholders.”

Mr Anderson — who joined Healius as group chief financial officer last March — said despite operating in a tough industry environment, it had heard shareholders “loud and clear”.

“We will focus on structuring and operating the business with a clear goal to maximise their investment,” he said.

Investors at Healius’ annual general meeting last November criticised the company’s performance, with John Wylie accusing it of being “extremely” poorly run.

Healius in February announced a profit downgrade for the 2024 financial year, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation expected to hit between $359m and $369m, compared to the $383m-$393m it predicted in November.

It reported a loss of $636m in the six months to to December 31, with a $603.2m impairment charge in its pathology division.

Ms Jaquet at the time said the margin collapse was “caused by both lower growth and a higher inflation operating environment”.

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