August 28, 2019 / 11:22 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 2-Medtronic CEO Ishrak to retire after 8 years at helm

(Adds analyst comments, background)

Aug 28 (Reuters) - Medical device maker Medtronic Plc said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Omar Ishrak will retire in April 2020 and will be succeeded by senior executive Geoff Martha.

Ishrak, who will turn 65 next year, spearheaded Medtronic's nearly $43 billion deal for rival Covidien in 2015, the largest acquisition in the medical technology industry that helped the company redomicile to Ireland, lowering its overall tax burden.

Martha, who will become CEO on April 27 next year, led the integration of Covidien and Medtronic and currently is executive vice president of restorative therapies group (RTG), a unit that sells devices such as spinal implants and robotic surgery systems.

"Investors will be hugely supportive of Geoff taking on the CEO role," Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Kumar said, noting that it was the right time for the transition.

Martha, who has been with Medtronic since 2011, turned the RTG unit around mainly through the acquisition of Israeli robotics company Mazor Robotics in 2016, which gave Medtronic access to robotic spine surgery system, Mazor X.

The unit generated revenue of more than $8 billion in fiscal 2019, but is Medtronic's third biggest unit. As a result, Martha's appointment may be a surprise to some investors, Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen said, although he does not expect a shift in strategy under Martha in the near term.

From November, Martha will assume a newly created role as Medtronic's president and join the company's board. Ishrak will continue as board chairman and will take up a new role as executive chairman of Medtronic after he retires.

Brett Wall, who joined Medtronic from Covidien, will succeed Martha as the executive vice president of the RTG unit. (Reporting by Manas Mishra and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Arun Koyyur)

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