Help Wanted: Chief executive officer and chief financial officer for leading edge medical technology firm.
The board of directors at Spectranetics Corp. fired Joseph Langey, for the past five years chief executive officer of the company, and its chief financial officer, Paul Samek.
They were fired after reportedly supporting a move to overthrow the company’s chair and a director.
Company officials disagree about the reasons for the dismissal and said the firings are a result of frequent disagreements with the pair and the board of directors about how the company should operate.
“The board has long had some frustration over Mr. Langey’s and Mr. Samek’s lack of willingness and commitment to the board’s policy of maximizing shareholder value through continuous growth in profitability,” chair Emile Geisenheimer said. “We believe we have a strong base today to build to the next level of success, and we’re convinced we’re not going to get there under (their) leadership.”
Geisenheimer will head the company until permanent replacements are found. No large-scale changes are expected because of the shakeup, he said.
Both of the fired executives were given opportunities to implement the board’s direction, said Geisenheimer. “This is an issue we’ve wrestled with for months,” he said.
The firings reportedly came after Langey, Samek and several other Spectranetics executives publicly supported Steven Sweet, a company stockholder seeking proxies to replace Geisenheimer and John Schulte, a director. Geisenheimer and Schulte are both up for re-election this year.
Geisenheimer denies the firings were politically motivated. Sweet alleges in documents he filed before the Securities and Exchange Commission that Geisenheimer received excessive amounts of company stock and received thousands of dollars in consulting fees despite the company’s relatively boring performance on Wall Street in recent years. Geisenheimer is CEO of a New York City investment firm.
Spectranetics’ stock sold for about $3.50 per share before the announcement, but fell to $2.91 after word of the firings reached Wall Street. At its peak, Spectranetics sold for about $20 a share after the company’s initial public offering.
Plunging stock value is reason enough to oust Geisenheimer, Sweet said. Sweet would dump Schulte because he supports Geisenheimer’s “excessive stock option plan.”
Sweet would replace the two with Kansas business executive Jack Newman Jr., and Colorado businessperson John Allgood.
After posting losses for years, Spectranetics posted profits in each of the past four quarters.
The board members will be selected at the firm’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs on June 4. The company employs about 140 people. It develops lasers used to break blockages in arteries. It was founded in 1984.