Ousted Stryker CEO Sought Approval For Romance With Employer
Stryker Corp., Chairman William U. Parfet shocked attendees at a recent annual meeting by making a statement in regards to former Chief Executive Stephen P. MacMillan, who was ousted two months earlier.
“Just to clarify, on behalf of the board of directors, we’d like to clearly state that Steve never violated any company policy nor any code of conduct,” Mr. Parfet said at the meeting, reports Wall Street Journal.
In February, Stryker said that the CEO was leaving for family reasons, however interviews with people who had direct knowledge of the events revealed that Mr. MacMillan, 48, was ousted partly because certain board members became uncomfortable with his handling of a relationship with a former flight attendant for the company’s corporate jets while his wife was pursuing a divorce.
The former CEO allegedly approached Mr. Parfet and Louise Francesconi, head of the board’s governance and nominating committee, to seek approval to date the employee, Jennifer Koch. According to people familiar with the matter, the two directors said that he could date Ms. Koch as long as she quit.
Mr. MacMillan began dating the flight attend, a divorced mother of two who left two weeks later. However, the former CEO’s strange deal fell apart amid suspicions that the relationship began before she left.
A lawyer was then hired to investigate the matter but no evidence was found. Mr. MacMillan, who had lost confidence with some directors, was forced to resign.
The former CEO is now in the process of trying to obtain a position at Johnson & Johnson, where he spent 11 years. According to the Wall Street Journal, Johnson & Johnson declined to comment.