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Fort Myers-based NeoGenomics hires industry veteran Chris Smith as new CEO

Chris Smith
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NeoGenomics will soon have a new CEO.

The Fort Myers-based cancer-focused testing and research lab has named a new chief executive, who’ll start in a few weeks.

Industry veteran Chris Smith will take on the leadership role.

With more than 30 years of experience in the health care sector, Smith, 59, most recently served as CEO of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a global provider of tests for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and confirming diseases.

Dania Alvarez checks a slide under a microscope in July 2014 at NeoGenomics in Fort Myers.

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Under his leadership, Ortho raised $1.45 billion in funding in an initial public offering and accelerated revenue growth, improving profitability.

This year, he guided Ortho through its sale to San Diego-based Quidel, a manufacturer of diagnostic solutions. The deal, valued at $6 billion, closed in May.

In a statement, Smith said he’s honored to join the “mission-driven culture and talented team at NeoGenomics,” with a focus on cancer, or oncology.

Founded in 2001, NeoGenomics, a publicly-traded company, handles testing for pathologists, clinicians, oncologists and hospitals throughout the country.

The company also offers biopharmaceutical and clinical trial services, serving drug companies and others seeking to develop new cancer treatments and therapies.

NeoGenomics has reached a pivotal time in its history, Smith said.

In an underserved and growing oncology market, he said, the company is well positioned to “bring business model innovation and elite service levels” to customers in both of its divisions.

“NeoGenomics has a critically important role to play in the oncology ecosystem helping to enhance the lives of millions of cancer patients,” Smith said.

With plans of relocating to Southwest Florida from Colorado, Smith will work out of the company’s headquarters in Fort Myers. 

He’ll start his new role on Aug. 15, replacing Lynn Tetrault, who has served as interim chief executive for a few months.

Tetrault will resume her role as an independent chairwoman of the company’s board, while assisting with the CEO transition.

A proven leader

Lynn Tetrault

In a statement, Tetrault said she and the company’s other directors are confident that Smith is the right person to lead the company forward.

“Chris is a remarkable leader with strong cultural values, diagnostic industry experience, and an extensive history of operating success,” she said, making him an excellent addition to the company’s talented management team.

Before joining Ortho, Smith held key executive leadership positions at Cochlear Ltd., a global provider of implantable hearing solutions, with more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue. As president of Cochlear Americas in 2004, he helped grow division revenue from $80 million to more than $400 million before he became CEO. During his tenure as CEO from 2015 to 2018, the company achieved a 35% organic improvement in annual revenues, achieving greater profitability.

Previously, Smith served as a CEO in residence at global private equity firm Warburg Pincus and as a global group president at Gyrus Group Plc.

He also held a variety of leadership positions with such companies as Abbott and Cardinal Health.

A native of Texas, Smith has a bachelor of science degree from Texas A&M University.

According to a public filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Smith will earn a base salary of $1 million a year, with a targeted bonus of an equal amount based on performance. 

He’ll also receive inducement awards valued at $8.5 million, consisting of restricted stock and stock options. 

Challenging times

NeoGenomics’ Global Headquarters

In late March, NeoGenomics announced Mark Mallon stepped down as its chief executive and as a member of its board — “effective immediately.”

At the same time, the company revealed it had seen a rough start to the new year, as the first quarter drew to a close.

NeoGenomics described Mallon’s exit as a mutual decision, stating that it wasn’t due to “any disagreements about strategy with management or the board, inappropriate action by (the) CEO, or any violation of company policy or any accounting irregularity.”

The board hired Russell Reynolds, a leading executive search and leadership advisory firm, to help find Mallon’s replacement.

The company faced many challenges last year, namely the departure of its longstanding chairman and CEO, continued disruptions from COVID and shifting dynamics in the marketplace.

Alejandra Perez, an employee of NeoGenomics in Fort Myers, makes slides from harvested samples.

NeoGenomics has characterized 2022 as a “rebuilding year.”

In the first quarter, the company reported wider losses of $49 million, or 40 cents a share, which it attributed primarily to operational challenges and higher costs, largely due to “significant wage and supply cost inflation.” 

Second-quarter financial results are due out on Aug. 9.

NeoGenomics has more than 2,100 employees at multiple locations in the United States and abroad, including its local headquarters.

The company moved into a new multimillion state-of-the-art headquarters last year. Its expansive, high-profile building is located just west of Interstate 75 and about half a mile north of Alico Road.

Written By

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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