A New Wrinkle in Merz Alignment Bodes Well for Raleigh HQ
Now Bob Rhatigan really has skin in the game.
The Raleigh business executive was named by the privately held German aesthetics and neurotoxins company Merz to lead its newly defined global aesthetics business.
And when the change officially takes place Jan. 1, 2020, Raleigh will be the official global headquarters of the unit.
Merz announced plans this week to reorganize into three independently operating businesses: medical aesthetics, therapeutics and consumer care. Under this structure, the company tapped Rhatigan to be global chief executive officer of Merz Aesthetics, assuming responsibility for all aspects of the global aesthetics business.
Rhatigan previously served as CEO of Merz Americas. The company credits him with driving two of its key products, Xeomin (incobotulinumtoxinA) and Ultherapy, to double-digit growth. It says Xeomin is now the fastest-growing neurotoxin in the U.S. medical aesthetics market, while Merz’s flagship injectable filler, Radiesse, has more than doubled in Latin America.
Merz established its North America division in Greensboro in 1995 and kept it there until January 2015, when it consolidated operations at its 60,000-square-foot facility in Raleigh. It’s there that Merz Aesthetics will become the largest dedicated medical aesthetics business globally.
Merz also reported the completion of another year of strong business performance across all regions, exceeding fiscal year 2018/19 revenue targets. Merz’s global revenue growth of 6.8 percent was driven in part by 17 percent year-over-year growth in the aesthetics business.
“We are pleased to make this change from a position of strength as an organization and in support of our long-term sustainability strategy,” said Philip Burchard, CEO of the Merz Group parent organization. “This positions Merz Aesthetics as the world’s only global fully focused medical aesthetics business, committed first and foremost to customers. Bob’s focus on customers, vision to expand our R&D efforts and drive to position Merz as the leading global medical aesthetics business, have materially strengthened who we are as a company and I warmly welcome Bob to this new role.”
“I am honored to lead this exceptional organization of dedicated and talented people,” said Rhatigan, “Through the creation of a specialized global medical aesthetics business, we will become even more relentlessly focused on meeting the needs of our customers worldwide and helping to facilitate their success.”
In an interview with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Rhatigan said he’s already recruiting to fill “a few open senior positions” on his Raleigh senior management team. That team will also grow from the relocation of current Merz executives from Germany and other locations. “They can come from anywhere in the world,” he said.
Rhatigan added that Kevin O’Brien, vice president of neurosciences for Merz, will also continue to lead from the Raleigh campus, which will become the North American regional headquarters for the newly restructured Merz Therapeutics business, which will cover the U.S. and Canada.
Merz currently has some 300 employees in Raleigh, but Rhatigan said these new changes will result in more hiring.
“Right now it’s hard to say how many,” he noted. “We’re deep in the implementation and planning phase, but we’re definitely growing our employee base. We just don’t have a number yet. We should have a better handle on that early next year.”
He said the company intends to stay in its Six Forks Road campus. “We have space available in a building adjacent to us, so we believe we can stay in the location we’re in.”
Rhatigan said the company will continue its Centers of Excellence for R&D, with “about half of the R&D in the U.S. and the other half in Germany. We’ll stay with that because we already have the labs and the personnel expertise in those locations. That means senior leadership in R&D will be maintained in Raleigh, Mesa, Arizona, and Frankfurt, Germany.