Last updated: December 9, 2013 11:41 pm

Carl Icahn forces his way into Hologic’s boardroom

Activist investor Carl Icahn has forced his way on to another board – medical diagnostics group Hologic.

Two Icahn representatives will join the board of the Massachusetts-based company as part of a settlement that headed off the threat of a proxy battle at the next annual shareholder meeting.

Shares in Hologic slipped, however, because the company also appointed a new chief executive – Stephen MacMillan, former head of the device-maker Stryker – in a move that dashed hopes that Mr Icahn might prompt the group quickly to put itself up for sale.

“I clearly was not brought in here to sell the business,” Mr MacMillan said. “My energy is on growing it, and Mr Icahn and I are aligned. This is a company with good assets that can be run better.”

Hologic began courting Mr MacMillan in October, several weeks before Mr Icahn turned up on the investor register through a derivatives position that gave him a 12.6 per cent stake in the company.

Mr Icahn, who in recent weeks has trumpeted the value that his representatives can add to share price performance when they join corporate boards, welcomed the appointment of Mr MacMillan. “We are enthusiastic about and supportive of the appointment,” he said.

“He has extensive industry experience and a record of delivering strong financial results and creating shareholder value,” he added.

The two Icahn representatives joining the board are Jonathan Christodoro and Samuel Merksamer, both managing directors at Icahn Capital.

The activist investor had not made specific demands over the strategic direction of the company, according to people with knowledge of his approaches to board members. Mr Icahn spoke to Mr MacMillan for the first time only on Saturday.

Mr MacMillan was forced out of Stryker in February 2012 after seven years at the helm, after revealing to the board that he had a relationship with the flight attendant on the corporate jet. He was previously talked about as a rising star chief executive and a possible contender to run Johnson & Johnson.

David LaVance, Hologic chairman, said: “Steve led Stryker to strong operating performance, including nearly tripling revenue, and delivered stock price appreciation that significantly outperformed the S&P 500 index.”

Mr MacMillan replaces Jack Cumming, a former chief of Hologic, who had returned to run the company this year and to launch a review of its businesses.

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