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SRI Surgical president abruptly steps down

By KRIS HUNDLEY
Published February 6, 2007


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SRI/Surgical Express Inc. in Tampa is looking for its third president in just over four years.

Christopher Carlton, who had been president and chief executive of the surgical supply company since December 2004, resigned effective immediately on Monday. No reason was given for his departure.

Carlton had succeeded Joseph Largey, who also served for about two years as head of SRI Surgical. The company provides disposable and reusable supplies to hospitals and surgical centers across the United States.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, SRI Surgical said Carlton would continue to receive his regular salary and medical and dental expenses for one year; he will also receive a $36,000 bonus. Carlton had an annual salary of $300,000 in 2005, the most recent year for which information was available.

In return, Carlton signed an agreement not to sue SRI Surgical, as well as a confidentiality and non-compete agreement. The company said it would take a charge of about $400,000 in the first quarter in connection with the resignation. SRI Surgical's shares closed Monday at $5.84, down 17 cents.

While the board searches for Carlton's successor, day-to-day operations will be handled by two senior executives, Wallace Ruiz and D. Jon McGuire. Ruiz is chief financial officer; McGuire has been senior vice president of strategic sourcing.

John Simmons Jr., SRI Surgical's chairman, said, "We will make this transition as smooth as possible."

Kris Hundley can be reached at hundley@sptimes.com or 727892-2996.

[Last modified February 6, 2007, 00:48:21]


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