1491803102714 - Orion hires US sales star as CEO shows no sign of switching roles

Orion hires US sales star as CEO shows no sign of switching roles

Health software exporter Orion Health is banking on the appointment of a new sales head to put a spring back in its step.

That follows a profit warning and a 25 per cent slide in its share price last week.

Teri Thomas was a vice president at United States rival Epic Systems until she stepped down a year ago.

With 9000 staff and annual sales of about US$1.8 billion (NZ$2.6b), Epic is eight to 12 times the size of Orion.  

Speaking from the US, Thomas said she had never gone head-to-head against Orion in a sales bid while working at Epic, but was attracted by Orion’s precision-healthcare vision, products and the software it had under development.

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Orion last week issued a revenue and profit warning which Forsyth Barr analyst Blair Galpin said made for “grim reading”.

Orion chief executive Ian McCrae would not comment on media commentary that he should consider stepping down from the helm and moving into an evangelical role for the business.

He said in a statement that Thomas would be an “outstanding addition” to the company, as vice president of sales, marketing and strategy.

Thomas had been instrumental in growing Epic from fewer than 100 employees “with little market recognition to over 10,000 employees and over US$1 billion in revenue”, he said.

Thomas decided to apply for New Zealand residency last year, prior to the job offer, after finding herself at home here during previous visits.

“My 10-year-old cried twice on the way to the airport saying ‘can’t we just stay?’.”

While she was “not a huge Trump fan” and that hadn’t hurt her decision, the appeal of the move was down to lifestyle and cultural reasons, she said. 

Thomas said she would bring a disciplined focus on profitability and an organised approach.

“I think [Orion] has the right raw materials to get through this and be very successful,” she said.

Orion shares closed down one cent on Monday at $1.43.

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