QuidelOrtho taps retired Abbott diagnostics leader for CEO

QuidelOrtho has been looking for a new CEO since its board of directors fired the medical testing company’s last chief earlier this year. Now, it’s been able to lure Brian Blaser, Abbott’s former diagnostics head, out of retirement.

Blaser will take the reins as president and CEO starting next week, May 6, two days before QuidelOrtho is set to detail its first-quarter earnings. 

The company’s board ousted long-time boss Douglas Bryant in late February, following his tenure of 15 years, after its 2023 financials posted an 8% drop in sales—equating to a drop of about $270 million. It was the company’s first full-year report since its megadeal combining Quidel and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. 

Brian Blaser
Brian Blaser (Business Wire)

“Brian brings over 25 years of senior leadership experience in the in vitro diagnostics industry, including seven years of full responsibility for Abbott’s global diagnostics business,” QuidelOrtho's chairman of the board, Kenneth Buechler, Ph.D., said in the company’s hiring announcement. “His proven track record of executing transformational strategies to streamline operations and driving revenue growth to dramatically improve profitability makes him an ideal leader to guide QuidelOrtho through its next phase of growth.”

Blaser previously retired from Abbott in 2019. Since then, he’s joined the board of the blood test developer Quanterix and became an executive adviser at Water Street Capital Partners. Blaser will also take a new seat on QuidelOrtho’s expanding board roster, effective May 15. 

“I am honored and excited to join QuidelOrtho as president and CEO during this pivotal point in the company’s journey,” Blaser said. “I am eager to collaborate with the QuidelOrtho team to drive innovation and continued growth, while delivering value to customers, shareholders and employees.”

For 2023, the company delivered total revenues of just under $3 billion, down from $3.27 billion the year prior—figures that included Quidel and Ortho’s separate sales in the months before their tie-up was finalized in May 2022.

At the same time, operating income plummeted from nearly $844 million to $139 million, while net earnings fell into the red, with a $10 million loss compared to their previous $550 million haul. 

For 2024, the company projected revenues to land between $2.76 billion and $3.07 billion, for anywhere between another 8% year-over-year drop all the way up to a 2.4% improvement.