Australia's Cochlear now has a CEO based in the US

Troy Probert poses with his cochleal implant. John Robertson/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Chris Smith, who was appointed just over a year ago as CEO and president of Australia’s pioneering bionic ear company, Cochlear, is moving back to the US.

Smith had a 10-year career at Cochlear before getting the top job. Based in Denver, Colorado, he had been president of Cochlear North America, senior vice president of Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions and senior vice president of Global Support Operations.

The American relocated to Sydney from the US to take up the CEO role in September last year but found himself commuting between the two countries.

Chairman Rick Holliday-Smith says the CEO will now live in the US for family reasons.

In its latest full year results, the biotech became a $1 billion sales company, posting $1.158 billion in revenue for 2016. Net profit was $188.9 million

And in February its shares smashed through the $100 mark. Today they are trading at $136.84.

“While it was intended that he be based in Australia, he will continue to reside in the US for family reasons,” Holliday-Smith told the company’s AGM.

“Given the global reach of Cochlear, the CEO role travels extensively, with Chris Smith spending as much time in the US as he does in Australia.”

Holliday-Smith says the board of directors does not believe the change will be disruptive.

“It is important however to stress the commitment we have to maintaining our Australian base,” he says.

“Chris’ situation is considered to be unique. It is certainly intended that future CEOs will be based in Australia.”

The CEO is on a base pay of $1.45 million, but can double that with incentives.

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