NuVasive is officially operating with a new chief executive, and the San Diego-based manufacturer of spine devices posted a sizable turnaround in the first quarter thanks to favorable legal developments.
Alex Lukianov, NuVasive's founder and CEO since 1999, resigned April 1 after an independent audit found he did not comply with the company's “expense reimbursement and personnel policies.” NuVasive has not elaborated on what exactly Lukianov did or how much money was involved. Jack Blair, NuVasive's lead independent board director, said last month the amounts involved were “immaterial” yet “not representative of the high standards by which NuVasive operates.”
NuVasive has since handed the keys to Greg Lucier, a board member since 2013 and former CEO of biotechnology firm Life Technologies. Lucier dismissed the notion that the company had cultural problems and said the transition wouldn't harm NuVasive's finances.
“The company is in a very good position,” Lucier said on an earnings call Monday. "The company is beyond one person."
NuVasive had to eat $3.4 million of severance and other compensation-related charges in the first quarter this year related to Lukianov's resignation, per his contract. Lukianov made $7.3 million in 2014.
But the company still did much better financially year over year. NuVasive turned a $31.6 million profit in the first three months of 2015 compared with an $18.3 million loss in the same period last year.
The large swing was mostly related to $56.4 million in overturned jury damages from a regulatory dispute with Medtronic. Medtronic previously alleged several NuVasive devices and procedures, including a minimally invasive spine surgery called XLIF, violated its patents. NuVasive recouped some of those costs this past quarter.
NuVasive's total revenue in the quarter increased 8.4% to $192.4 million. Full-year revenue is projected to be around $810 million.