Report: Boston Scientific to Split Heart Divisions

Boston Scientific Corp plans to reverse at least some of the restructuring put in place by former Chief Executive Raymond Elliott by separating the two main divisions of its biggest business, cardiac devices and is preparing another round of job cuts.

A Boston Scientific spokesman confirmed the moves outlined in a letter to employees this month, but said the two actions were unrelated. Some job cuts would come as a result of manufacturing adjustments in the United States and abroad, but he was unable to say how many positions would be eliminated or provide other details.

The medical device maker, which has been struggling since its 2006 acquisition of heart stent maker Guidant Corp, is expected to announce additional layoffs within the next two months, according to a person close to the company. The number of layoffs was not specified.

The source said details of the changes were outlined in a letter to employees from acting CEO Hank Kucheman earlier this month. The source, who was not authorized to discuss the matter with media, asked to remain anonymous.

In the meantime, Boston Scientific will separate its cardiac rhythm management unit, which makes heart pacemakers and implantable defibrillators, from its interventional cardiology business, which makes stents, the source said.

The units were combined less than three years ago under Elliott, who expected the business to benefit from the expertise of a shared sales force. The source could not explain the rationale for a separation.

Boston Scientific has been struggling with weak markets for its key products -- heart stents and implantable heart defibrillators -- for several years as the number of procedures has dropped, partly because of a weak economy and heightened scrutiny over their use.

In the second quarter, revenue from interventional cardiology fell 13 percent, while revenue from cardiac rhythm management fell 8 percent, excluding the impact of foreign currency translations.

Elliott, a medical devices industry veteran, joined the company to fanfare in 2009. The company had been floundering under long-time CEO Jim Tobin after it paid some $27 billion for Guidant.

Under a mountain of debt, the company suffered from a series of high-profile product recalls and manufacturing problems. Its key markets turned sluggish as the global economy weakened.

Under Elliott's tenure, Boston Scientific paid down debt, sold non-core businesses, restructured and cut about 2,000 jobs. It currently employs 24,000 people.

He left the company after less than two years at the helm, surprising and disappointing some investors. Its stock, which has been in the doldrums for years. It sank below $5 per share in July and has traded below $8 per share since early 2010.

In September 2011, Boston Scientific tapped Michael Mahoney, a top medical device executive at Johnson & Johnson, to be its next chief executive, effective Nov. 1, 2012. Mahoney currently holds the title of president. (Reporting by Debra Sherman; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Michele Gershberg and David Gregorio)