June 13, 2011 by MassDevice staff
Ekdahl will replace David Floyd, who resigned in March amid a damaging recall of one of DePuy's hip replacement lines that's already cost the company nearly $1 billion in legal expenses. The 20-year veteran of the company's orthopaedics, trauma, sports medicine, neurosciences and spine units was the franchise vice president for DePuy Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Ekdahl's experience should serve him as he looks to clean up nagging legal troubles from the massive recall of DePuy's ASR hip replacement system and a daunting integration of orthopedic trauma colossus Synthes, which JNJ bought for $21 billion in April.
Ekdahl's predecessor Floyd was named president of DePuy in Sept. 2007, after coming over from Abbott's (NYSE:ABT) spine division. His arrival was accompanied by some fanfare, due to his connections to Warsaw — Floyd was an executive at Warsaw-based Zimmer Holdings (NYSE:ZMH) and went to college in the area, according to a 2007 article in the Journal Gazette.
"I think he’s going to be one of those truly charismatic leaders and he’s going to rally the troops," George Grobe III, DePuy's former vice president of research, told the newspaper at the time.
Although the company performed well during Floyd's tenure, its fortunes began to change in August 2010 after it recalled the ASR device after receiving reports that a higher-than-normal number of patients required surgeries to correct or remove defective implants.
The company said it pulled the ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing systems from the market "due to the number of patients who required a second hip replacement procedure, called a revision surgery."
Since then, numerous product liability lawsuits have piled up against DePuy, alleging that the company knew of design problems with the implants but failed to adequately warn physicians. DePuy introduced the ASR in the U.S. in 2005 after winning 510(k) clearance from the FDA.
Johnson & Johnson officials said the company paid nearly $1 billion in legal costs and settlements in 2010 related to the hip implant recall.