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Press releases

Spire Healthcare
8 April 2011

Spire Healthcare appoints Garry Watts as Executive Chairman and Rob Roger as Chief Executive Officer

Spire Healthcare, the private hospital group, has appointed Garry Watts as Executive Chairman and Rob Roger as Chief Executive Officer of the company with effect from 1 May 2011.

Garry Watts was previously CEO of SSL International plc (acquired by Reckitt Benckiser in late 2010), a manufacturer of healthcare products including Durex and Scholl.  Rob Roger is promoted from his role as Spire Healthcare’s Chief Financial Officer, which he has held since 2007.

Rob Wise, current Spire CEO, is remaining at the company until the end of April, before returning to Australia to rejoin his family. He will take a role as a non-executive director in the company. Robert Cooke, the current Non-Executive Chairman, is stepping down from his role after three and a half years.

Garry Watts, as CEO of SSL International plc between 2004 and 2010, and before that as CFO from 2001, oversaw the growth of the business and its increasing profitability (from a loss before tax of £2.9m in 2002 to a profit before tax of £115m in 2010) that led up to the sale of SSL to Reckitt Benckiser for £2.4bn last year. His career started at KPMG in 1976 where he became Head of the UK Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice. In 1996 he joined Medeva plc. as Finance Director where he led the acquisition of a large US-based pharmaceutical division and subsequent merger with Celltech Chiroscience to form Celltech plc, where he was appointed CEO. He is a non-executive director of Stagecoach Group plc and Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. Other board positions he has held include 15 years with the Advisory Board of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Since joining Spire, Rob Roger has been a key part of the management team that has driven a successful period of growth, including a programme of continued investment and the acquisition of eleven hospitals, establishing Spire as the second largest private hospital provider in the UK. Prior to joining Spire in 1998, Rob was CFO at The Tussauds Group Ltd., where he ran the MBO. He then led a number of mergers and acquisitions, including the sale of the Tussauds Group to Dubai International Capital, the merger of the company with Merlin Entertainment in 2007 and the acquisitions of Thorpe Park and British Airways London Eye. Rob previously held a number of Finance Director positions with companies such as PepsiCo Inc. and First Choice Plc.

Garry Watts, Executive Chairman, today commented, “Spire Healthcare is a strong company, performing well and has grown, organically and acquisitively, over the last four years. I look forward to this continuing success, working alongside a talented management team. While there are further opportunities for Spire in today’s healthcare market, our focus will continue to be the provision of exceptional patient care and services.”

Rob Roger, CEO, today said, “Our continued improvement has been driven by a focus on innovation, growth and operational efficiencies. As CEO, I will continue our programme of investment in existing facilities and new developments, driving the delivery of first rate care through our network of hospitals and clinics. We will maintain our commitment to investment in complex surgery whilst focusing on key growth areas such as fertility, bariatrics and pathology.”

Commenting on the new appointments, Simon Rowlands, a Partner at Cinven and Director of Spire Healthcare, said, “The company has seen excellent operational and financial performance under our ownership over the past three and a half years. Garry and Rob bring a combination of skills and experience particularly suited to taking the business forward. The experience Garry has in areas of healthcare beyond the hospital sector will be valuable, whilst Rob ensures continuity with the leadership and culture that has delivered such strong performance to date. We have every confidence this performance will continue under their stewardship, as they position the company for long term value creation.

“We had appointed Rob Wise, who is stepping down from the CEO role, in the knowledge that he would return to Australia to rejoin his family after spending a few years at Spire focusing the company on growth. Robert Cooke as Non-Executive Chairman, who has provided the board with advice from the outset, is also stepping down. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank both Rob Wise and Robert Cooke for their contribution to the company and wish them well for the future.”

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