Invacare’s Blouch to Retire
Gerald Blouch will step down from role as President and CEO, also retiring from board.
Gerald Blouch, president and CEO of Invacare Corp., will retire from his roled effective July 31, and also will retire from his position as a member of the company’s board of directors. Robert Gudbranson, Invacare’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, will serve as interim president and chief executive officer, while retaining his role as CFO.
The Invacare Board of Directors will commence a national executive search process to identify a CEO and will retain a leading executive recruiting firm to assist in the process. The search will include review of both internal and external candidates.
''It has been a privilege to be a part of Invacare’s senior leadership team over the past 24 years, most notably as Chief Executive Officer for the past four years,” Blouch said. “My decision to retire was a difficult one, but it is the right choice for both me and for the Company. I am confident that, despite its short-term challenges, Invacare has an incredibly strong future. … I have full confidence in Rob Gudbranson and the senior leadership team to drive the necessary business improvements to complete the third-party certification audit, as well as turn around the core business.''
Blouch joined Invacare in 1990 as its CDO, and in 1994, he became chief operating officer and was responsible for the operations of all domestic and international business units. He was named president and a director of the company in 1996, and assumed the role of chief executive officer in January 2011.
''I personally want to thank Gerry for his commitment to Invacare,” Gudbranson said. “We remain focused on completing the final third-party certification audit and demonstrating our quality systems compliance to the FDA. During this challenging time, we have three additional critical priorities, which include improving cash flow, restoring profitability in Invacare’s North America/Home Medical Equipment and Asia/Pacific businesses and working to establish a new credit facility with our banks, as our existing credit facility matures in October 2015.''
Gudbranson has served as Invacare’s senior vice president and chief financial officer since 2008. Prior to that, Gudbranson was vice president of strategic planning and acquisitions for Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., a global manufacturer of welding, brazing and soldering products. Prior to joining Lincoln Electric, Gudbranson was an Invacare alum, holding various positions, including director, business development and investor relations; assistant treasurer; and european finance director.
''We are grateful to Gerry for his contributions to Invacare over the past 24 years,” said Mal Mixon, chairman of Invacare’s board of directors. “He was an integral part of building Invacare into the $1.4 billion world leader of home and long-term care medical devices. The Board will be actively searching for a successor who can take the Company to the next level. In the interim the Board has full confidence in Rob Gudbranson, who has distinguished himself as Chief Financial Officer.''
The terms of Blouch's retirement and Gudbranson’s compensation as interim president and chief executive officer are detailed in a Form 8-K that was slated to be filed with the SEC.