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UPDATE: Accuray's new CEO explains transition

par Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 12, 2012
Accuray's newly appointed CEO and president Joshua Levine said his background in commercial operations and work leading small-cap public companies against larger rivals made him a good fit for the radiation therapy company on the eve of the reveal of new technologies he said could be key to the company's future.

In an investor call Friday morning discussing his appointment as top executive of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company after outgoing chief Euan S. Thomson's resignation, announced earlier that day, Levine backed away from giving too many details on the behind-the-scenes work leading up to his appointment and stressed that he was too new to the job to offer a different strategic vision for the business.

"I'm about 90 minutes into my experience in the job with the company, and it's probably at this point inappropriate for me to (do) a grand pontification if you will about what (we) will or won't do going forward," he said.

The 54-year-old executive, who previously manned two companies which he later sold, Mentor Corp. and Immucor Corp., cited a company press release and said he was brought on to help with the company's "next phase of growth" because of his consumer focus and record of building shareholder value.

"It was the board's view that in the context of the business' evolution, it was time to look for somebody with a bit more experienced skillset, with driving growth and profitability, to driving the next phase of [the] lifecycle," he said.

When asked by a caller if, considering his background, he was planning a sale, he said "I'm going to ask everyone to put their heads down and build value in this business. That's going to be the focus."

Keys to growth

But Levine did say that Accuray's new products scheduled to be unveiled later this month, apparently new versions of its CyberKnife radiosurgery equipment and TomoTherapy CT-guided linear accelerators, were critical to the company's future.

"I believe the new CyberKnife and TomoTherapy advanced technological platforms to be introduced at ASTRO [are going] to be exciting to our customers. We believe these new platforms will be keys to our revenue growth."

The devices will be introduced Monday, Oct. 29 at an investors meeting at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's (ASTRO) annual conference in Boston, the biggest U.S. show for radiation therapy.

With Levine taking the reins only a few weeks before the big reveal at ASTRO, a caller asked if he would find himself "flatfooted." Levine defended the timing of the personnel switch, explaining that he would spend the next few weeks mugging up on the business and saying, "While I won't be an expert come [ASTRO], I'm going to be farther downstream than people believe." In response to a later question, he also said, "If you're going to make a change, bring someone in on the front side of that."

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