Report: Smith & Nephew's chairman will be stepping down

Smith & Nephew's ($SNN) long-time chairman is planning to retire, Sky News reported, a move coming as the device company transitions away from its traditional reliance on orthopedic implants.

The news agency reports that Smith & Nephew will most likely announce Sir John Buchanan's impending departure when it discloses third-quarter results on Oct. 31.

Take the report as you will. Sky News said that Buchanan, who had been at Smith & Nephew for several years, will likely make his official departure at the company's annual meeting next year. Additionally, Smith & Nephew is also close to picking Buchanan's successor, according to the story. The company would not comment to Sky News on the piece.

Smith & Nephew is already moving to diversify and shift its long-term strategy, so it makes sense the U.K. giant would also seek new leadership at the top. A year ago, the company dove deeply into the wound-care business with its $782 million acquisition of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics, which has vastly expanded its own wound-care offerings. In a related move, Smith & Nephew snatched up India's Adler Mediequip in May, giving it access to that company's line of orthopedic trauma products.

Diversification through M&A has helped. Smith & Nephew's acquisitions have grown revenue even as surgical device sales have continued to slump.

Smith & Nephew CEO Olivier Bohuon revealed to Bloomberg in August that the company has set aside $1.5 billion for M&A deals, particularly in emerging markets, to help fuel future M&A activity.

- here's the full Sky News story