Parexel names former INC Research exec as CEO, will ex Syneos CFO follow?

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/HAKINMHAN)
(Image: Getty/HAKINMHAN)
Parexel names former INC Research executive Jamie Macdonald as its new CEO – with discussion that Gregory Rush will follow after his early departure from Syneos.

Gregory Rush, executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) of Syneos Health (previously INC Research/inVentiv​) announced an early departure from the company in February. Rush is currently on paid leave for the remainder of his previously announced term of service, which runs through April 30, 2018.

Many believe that Rush left Syneos to join Parexel and his former INC Research colleague, Jamie Macdonald, who was named CEO of Parexel today​.

Effective March 15, 2018, Macdonald replaces Josef von Rickenbach, who co-founded the company in 1982 and has since served as chairman and CEO. Von Rickenbach will continue as Chairman of the Board, according to Parexel, which was acquired by a private equity firm last year​.

While it hasn’t been confirmed, David Windley, CFA, CPA, managing director of Healthcare Equity Research at Jefferies LLC said the “stars seem to point​” to a reunion between Macdonald and Rush at Parexel, “to help turn the business around​.”

Recent conversations help to add more stars to that constellation​,” Windley added. “Now that Parexel has gone private, the new owners will likely build their own team."

Simon Harford is the current senior vice president and CFO of Parexel. He assumed the role in June 2017, replacing the interim CFO who was appointed following the resignation of Ingo Bank in 2016​.

Taking stock

Despite Syneos originally announcing Rush’s departure on January 3, 2018, a form 8-K filed on February 14, 2018, disclosed that Rush had resigned the previous day, more than two months before his scheduled departure date.

In the days following, Syneos’ stock dipped; however, it has since rebounded as “cooler heads are prevailing​,” said Windley.

In an earnings call last week, the company announced that Jason Meggs, EVP and CFO of the Commercial Solutions business, will take over on an interim basis until a permanent CFO is appointed.

Meggs was originally slated to take over as interim CFO beginning April 30, 2018.

It was time to bring Jason through, and to clarify who's leading the finance organization​,” CEO Alistair MacDonald said on the call.

However, as Windley explained, the CFO leaving is “not a reflection of a bomb that’s about to go off in the financials​.”

Not just once but twice they made an announcement about a CFO change and didn’t have commentary about the numbers​,” added Windley. “That causes imaginations to run wild​.”

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