Hegstad quits as president of Kirschner

February 13, 1991|By Blair S. Walker

The president of Kirschner Medical Corp., Bruce J. Hegstad, has resigned and his duties have been taken over by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer C. Scott Harrison, the company announced yesterday.

The news came exactly a week after the medical-equipment manufacturer said it expected a fourth-quarter loss that probably will make fiscal 1990 a money-losing year. The Timonium company lost $14.2 million the previous year.

Mr. Hegstad's departure came on the heels of a recent Kirschner announcement that it is taking drastic steps to reduce costs, including salary rollbacks and a wage freeze. Earlier this year, an unspecified number of Kirschner's approximately 500 employees were laid off at company facilities in Timonium, Spain, New Jersey and Oklahoma.

A tersely worded company statement said Mr. Hegstad resigned Feb. 8. No official explanation for his resignation was offered yesterday by company spokesman John E. Barham. "All the information I have is in the release," Mr. Barham said.

Mr. Hegstad has been responsible for the creation of more than 20 companies with annual worldwide revenues exceeding $100 million. He had been Kirschner's president since it was formed in 1985 and has guided it to several profitable years, the last being 1988, when Kirschner earned $1.5 million.

Mr. Hegstad emphasized acquisition of medical-related businesses that eventually moved Kirschner away from its core business of developing, manufacturing and marketing orthopedic implants. As that took place, profitability began to decline.

Attempts to reach Mr. Hegstad for comment were unsuccessful.

Dr. Harrison, an orthopedic surgeon and businessman who joined Kirschner in 1989, said the company will shift its focus to concentrate primarily on orthopedic products, including replacement hips and knees.

In December, Kirschner sold a South Carolina subsidiary that makes operating-room equipment in a deal that brought it $9 million.

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