The co-founder and former chairman of Covetrus, a Portland-based veterinary technology firm, said he intends to leave the company’s board of directors over personal health concerns.

David Shaw, who co-founded the company as Vets First Choice 10 years ago with his son Benjamin Shaw, said in a statement that doctors have advised him to reduce his workload and attend to his health after a life-threatening brain injury several years ago. Shaw said he will not seek re-election to the board at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May.

Covetrus Inc. co-founder and Idexx Laboratories Inc. founder David Shaw. Photo courtesy of David Shaw

“It’s been an epically fulfilling experience to play a leadership role in an organization harnessing new technology to create exceptional value for stakeholders in this large and attractive market,” Shaw said. “I have great confidence in the team and the opportunity, and I stand ready to help in the future as a shareholder and a friend of the organization.”

Shaw said he will work on several entrepreneurial ventures and focus on philanthropic and environmental causes, including the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and Just Capital, a nonprofit group focused on making America’s private sector better serve the needs of all people. He will remain managing partner of Black Point Group, a private equity investment partnership based in Portland.

Shaw, who also founded Westbrook-based veterinary diagnostics firm Idexx Laboratories Inc., started Vets First Choice in 2009 and was chairman of the board of Covetrus when the company was formed in 2019 in a merger with the spun-off animal health division of Melville, New York-based Henry Schein Inc.

Covetrus employs about 5,500 workers worldwide and 300 in Maine.

Shaw stepped down as chairman last year in the wake of Covetrus’ disappointing second-quarter financial results, which prompted a lawsuit accusing the company of misleading investors.

“On behalf of the full board and the Covetrus team, I want to thank David for his combined 10 years of leadership and service to Covetrus and predecessor company, Vets First Choice,” said Phillip Laskawy, chairman of the Covetrus board, in a statement. “His experience and industry knowledge played a critical role in the creation and growth of the company.”


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