Zimmer Biomet taps former Medtronic exec to lead new spine, dental spinoff

Zimmer Biomet has signed on former Medtronic executive Vafa Jamali to lead its upcoming spinout business, with plans to hive off its spine and dental product divisions by the middle of next year. 

Announced earlier this month, Zimmer Biomet aims to form an independent publicly traded company—temporarily dubbed “NewCo”—to allow itself to refocus on its core markets in joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care and surgical products as part of what the company describes as the third phase of its transformation strategy.

"For Zimmer Biomet, the transaction is an important step toward shifting our portfolio mix to higher-growth markets where we have a clear path to leadership and right to win,” President and CEO Bryan Hanson said. “We believe NewCo will thrive as an independent company with prioritized capital allocation to pursue strategic growth opportunities and investment strategies in the large and growing spine and dental markets.”

Jamali will take the reins as CEO after serving as a senior vice president for Medtronic through last October and as president of the medtech giant’s respiratory, gastrointestinal and informatics divisions, including 10,000 employees and $3 billion in annual revenue. 

Vafa Jamali
(Rockley Photonics)

"I'm so excited to join NewCo at this pivotal time in the company's creation," said Jamali, who previously held roles at Covidien, Cardinal Health and Baxter. "This is a prime opportunity to leverage my experience in execution and value creation for NewCo.”

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Most recently, Jamali was named chief commercial officer for Rockley Photonics, maker of integrated optical chips with a focus on healthcare, wearables and machine vision applications.

The new company will pick up the torch for Zimmer Biomet’s Rosa One Spine robotic surgery and navigation system as well as the Mobi-C artificial cervical disc replacement implant along with dental products focused on oral reconstruction and more. Altogether, these units delivered about $1 billion in revenue for 2019 and $897 million over the course of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Vafa's extensive knowledge and experience in building teams, developing long-term growth strategies, prioritizing resources, driving execution and delivering growth across the medical device industry make him the ideal leader to shape the direction of NewCo and move the business forward," Hanson said.