Healius appoints new CEO, sells Montserrat Day Hospitals for $139m

Healius appoints new CEO, sells Montserrat Day Hospitals for $139m

Incoming Healius CEO Maxine Jaquet (Provided)

Healius (ASX: HLS) has today announced Maxine Jaquet will become the group’s next top boss, making her one of the youngest of the 14 female CEOs currently expected to be running an ASX 200 company once she succeeds Dr Malcolm Parmenter in March 2023. 

Jaquet joined the pathology and diagnostic imaging giant in 2015 as group director - commercial and CEO of subsidiary Health & Co. Three years ago she was promoted to CFO, as well as COO early last year. 

“I am honoured to be appointed CEO, and I am looking forward to leading the team of talented and hard-working Healius people dedicated to improving health outcomes in Australia,” Jacquet said.

“We have a highly cash-generative portfolio, a good balance sheet and multiple growth pathways. Our current investment in digital technologies will fundamentally improve how we interact with our customers and run our operations.

“In the near term, I am focused on accelerating the improvement in our underlying performance. Specifically, this means managing the transition from COVID-19 testing to our business-as-usual diagnostics with improved margins while also accelerating our growth opportunities especially in high acuity disease and specialty diagnostics.”

Jaquet will receive a fixed annual remuneration of $1.5 million for the new gig plus incentives that could take her pay packet up to $4 million. This is short of the $5.9 million earned by her predecessor in FY22, but above the $2.4 million she took home in the same period.

Formerly trading as Primary Health Care, Sydney-based Healius operates 97 medical laboratories and approximately 2,000 patient collection centres across metropolitan, regional and remote Australia. It also employs more than 11,500 staff.

The news of her succession comes at the same time Healius, which has a market capitalisation of $1.7 billion, has offloaded 11 specialist short-stay hospitals and haematology/oncology clinics to Nexus Hospitals for $138.6 million.

The group acquired Montserrat Day Hospitals in 2018 for $122.0 million (including earn-outs), meaning the latest sale to Nexus Hospitals - controlled by funds managed by QIC Limited - will see it walk away with a $16.6 million profit.

Healius said it will continue to provide pathology services across a number of existing Montserrat facilities, with the potential to expand the provision of diagnostic services with Nexus Hospitals.

The deal comes after the company reported a 32 per cent decline in revenue for the four months to October, which was driven by a slump in COVID-19 testing. PCR testing via Healius dropped to 3,000 per working day in October and November, compared with 13,000 in July.

However, Healius noted its pathology segment was growing steadily, seeing a five per cent boost in revenue to hit $401.5 million compared to the same time last year. Its imaging segment also grew year-on-year to $144.6 million, reflecting a lift of 8.6 per cent.

“Maxine will hit the ground running given the pivotal role she has played in leading the portfolio reshaping, refocusing Healius as a diagnostics operator, divesting medical centres, and her contribution to fortifying the balance sheet, improving cash generation and structurally improving margins,” Healius chairperson Jenny Macdonald said.

“Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges for Australian healthcare service providers are unprecedented. The board is confident that, with her track record, discipline and vision, Maxine will meet those challenges and deliver the performance required of Healius.

“We are grateful to Malcolm for his significant contribution to Australian healthcare and specifically for all that he has achieved at Healius. He has overseen a period of turnaround in the company, including streamlining the company’s portfolio, embarking on a foundational digital agenda, and re-orienting the business to be truly in service of patients and clinicians.”

Parmenter said he decided to step down from Healius after five years in order to pursue other activities.

“It has been an honour to serve as the company’s CEO,” Parmenter said.

“I am proud of where Healius is today and I am particularly proud of our people and our culture of delivering accessible, quality healthcare to the communities of Australia.”

Shares in HLS are down 0.5 per cent to $2.86 each at 1:34pm AEDT.

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