Beckman Coulter Says CEO Garrett Resigned, Company Is Seeking a Successor

Beckman Coulter Inc., the maker of laboratory equipment for science research, said Chief Executive Officer Scott Garrett resigned and the company is searching for a successor.

Garrett, 60, left the position yesterday after more than five years, the company said today in a statement. Beckman Coulter named J. Robert Hurley, senior vice president of human resources and chairman of Beckman Coulter Japan, as interim president and CEO. The resignation was “not related to one event or issue,” said spokeswoman Cynthia Skoglund in a telephone interview.

U.S. regulators sent Beckman Coulter a warning letter in June saying that marketing of the company’s AccuTnI heart test was being done without proper clearance. In July, second-quarter earnings excluding one-time items fell short of analysts’ estimates by 23 cents a share.

“While likely a long-term positive, we believe Garrett’s resignation speaks to continued instability,” said Bruce Cranna, an analysts with Jefferies & Co., in a note to clients. “Beckman Coulter’s product quality stumbles are clearly hindering both new sales and customer retention.”

Beckman Coulter, based in Brea, California, fell $1.53, or 3.3 percent, to $44.97 at 10:09 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 31 percent this year.

“We remain confident in and supportive of the company’s management team and are committed to our strategy of leadership in biomedical testing and superior customer service,” Glenn S. Schafer, lead independent director, said in today’s statement. “Our initiatives to address previously disclosed quality issues are proceeding and we are continuing to invest in opportunities to build shareholder value.”

Garrett was at the company since 2002. He previously worked at Kendro Laboratory Products Inc., Dade Behring Inc. and Baxter International Inc. He will stay on at the company in a non- executive position until Jan. 15, 2011.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Shannon Pettypiece at spettypiece@bloomberg.net.

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