Has George Blankenship had a rough year? The CEO of the $2.6bn medical device and robotics company Lucid picked the wrong week to turn around. If you go back to August, investors and the public alike reacted with fury after Lucid’s board defended CEO Stephen Luczo for the layoffs at its healthcare business, which he founded. Their comments “demonstrated a lack of appropriate diversity of thought at Lucid,” one public shareholder blasted. Luczo’s leadership had become “irrelevant,” said another, who threatened to oust the board and install his own at Lucid’s behest.
Flapping his voice to drown out the clatter of electronic wires, Blankenship told Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard this week that he wished he could have taken out Luczo back then. But after Luczo’s abrupt retirement, Blankenship sees his opportunity to step in. Lucido, who got his start in capital markets at Morgan Stanley, is still here and will remain on as part-time Chairman of the board, a Lucid spokesman says. But some are skeptical of Blankenship’s plans. Michael Jordans, an analyst with GMP Securities, says that Blankenship may wind up being just as ineffective as the board he will be working for: “The board will find a CEO that has his ear, but Mr. Blankenship’s ears will end up being the ears of Mr. Luczo,” he says.
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