Portland-based Covetrus Inc. continues to replace top executives in the wake of its troubled first year of operations, with another senior management change announced Tuesday.

Matthew Leonard has stepped down as the veterinary technology and services company’s global supply chain officer, executive vice president and president of North American operations, Covetrus said in a news release Tuesday. Leonard will transition to an advisory role, it said.

Covetrus also has replaced its former chairman and co-founder David Shaw, CEO and co-founder Benjamin Shaw, and chief financial officer Christine Komola over the past few months. David Shaw remains a director on the company’s board, and his son, Benjamin Shaw, has transitioned to an advisory role, the company has said.

The company, which has about 300 employees in Portland and 5,500 worldwide, also announced major changes to its European operations. It said company executive Mike Ellis has been promoted to executive vice president and will add North America to his existing responsibilities as the leader of Covetrus’ Europe division.

In addition to the senior management changes, Covetrus said it is introducing a new organizational framework in Europe that centralizes the larger regions into three geographic groupings – northern Europe, central Europe and central eastern Europe – to simplify operations to better meet the needs of customers and manufacturing partners.

In another change, company executive David Hinton has been promoted to executive vice president and will add global sourcing to his existing responsibilities as the leader of Asia, Pacific and emerging markets, Covetrus said. Executive Georgia Wraight also has been promoted to executive vice president and will continue to lead Covetrus’ global technology solutions organization, the company said.

The company also announced the hiring of Simon Hellams, effective Feb. 12, to serve as vice president and managing director of the company’s Australia and New Zealand operations.

Covetrus, which has admitted “self-inflicted missteps” in its first year of operation as a publicly traded company, is facing an investor lawsuit filed in September that accuses the company and its former top executives of lying to investors about the company’s financial and operational health prior to its launch in February.

Covetrus stock began trading publicly on Feb. 8 at roughly $43 per share on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol CVET. It immediately became Maine’s largest publicly traded company in terms of annual revenue, although two other companies, Idexx and Portland-based Wex Inc., have higher market capitalization – the total value of their outstanding shares. Covetrus shares were priced at $13.78 as of Tuesday’s market close, up 5.5 percent from the previous day.

The company’s primary contribution to the veterinary market was its development of a pharmacy management and prescription fulfillment system for independent veterinary clinics that allows them to better compete with large, online retailers. Covetrus also sells and distributes a wide range of veterinary supplies, software applications and business services for animal hospitals and veterinary clinics.

After forming in the merger of Portland-based Vets First Choice and a spinoff of the animal health division of Melville, New York-based Henry Schein Inc., the company’s Aug. 13 earnings release for its first full quarter of operations fell far short of analyst expectations and led to a stock sell-off that slashed the company’s share value by 40 percent in a single day. Covetrus reported a quarterly net loss of $10 million on revenue of $1.01 billion and revised its previous earnings outlook for 2019 from $250 million to $200 million, citing unanticipated merger-related costs and a slowdown in customer activity.

The company has subsequently revised its earnings outlook downward again but only slightly, to a range of $190 million to $196 million for 2019. As of its third-quarter financial report, Covetrus remained on track to generate about $4 billion in revenue for the year.


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