Longtime NuVasive Chairman and CEO Lukianov out over expense reimbursement, personnel concerns

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Spinal device maker NuVasive says Chairman and CEO Alex Lukianov resigned after the board concluded he didn’t follow expense reimbursement and personnel policies.

NuVasive says Lukianov resigned Saturday after an investigation by the board of directors. The company, which makes products used in minimally-invasive spine surgeries, said Lukianov didn’t live up to its standards but that the amounts of money involved don’t appear to be large enough to affect its financial results.

The San Diego-based company said it couldn’t provide more details about the scope of Lukianov’s violations of its policies, and said it does not expect regulators to look into the matter.

Lukianov had been the company’s CEO since 1999 and chairman since 2004. The company is naming Gregory Lucier as its new chairman and interim CEO. Lucier was chairman and CEO of Life Technologies from 2003 to 2014, when that company was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., and he has been a director for NuVasive since 2013.

The company said Lukianov will receive $900,000 in severance. That’s equal to his annual salary, based on the company’s latest filings. NuVasive said he agreed to release the company from legal claims and will work with the company as a consultant and adviser to its new CEO over the next year and a half. He will be paid an additional $500,000 for his consulting work.

Needham & Co. analyst Mike Matson said Lukianov was the face of the company and helped make NuVasive one of the largest spinal device companies, but that some potential investors disliked his “brash style and strong personality.” He said the company might be a more tempting target for an acquisition with Lukianov gone.

NuVasive Inc. said it expects to report at least $190 million in revenue in the first quarter. Analysts expected $189.5 million on average, according to FactSet.

NuVasive shares fell 39 cents to $45.60 on Wednesday. The stock has traded between $31.35 and $51.23 in the last 12 months.