Charles River embraces discovery in management shake-up

Charles River Laboratories CFO Thomas Ackerman

Charles River Laboratories' ($CRL) longtime chief financial officer is stepping down in a planned retirement, giving the preclinical CRO a chance to further integrate its recent acquisitions and increase its focus on drug discovery.

The outgoing CFO, Thomas Ackerman, has been with the company since 1988, presiding over much of its evolution into a go-to provider of early-stage services. His replacement, David Smith, came over just last year when Charles River traded $179 million for Argenta and BioFocus, two discovery-focused service providers formerly owned by Galapagos. Smith served as CEO of Galapagos' service division before the buyout and previously held the CFO spot at the Belgian biotech.

Taking his place as senior vice president of discovery will be Emily Hickey, currently vice president of in vivo discovery at Charles River, and BioFocus' Katherine Hilyard will step in as vice president of early discovery, overseeing the businesses acquired from Galapagos.

"These executive appointments highlight the strength of our management bench," CEO James Foster said in a statement. "David, Emily and Kate are proven executives who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, with the vision to drive the company's growth."

Meanwhile, Charles River is powering ahead after a banner year in which it grew revenue 11.3% to $1.3 billion and increased net income by 23.2% to $129.9 million. The CRO is expecting 2015 revenue to come in between 6% and 7.5% higher than last year's and forecasting earnings per share of $3.55 to $3.65.

- read the statement