DURHAM–Rich West, founder and chief executive officer of TriVirix has been replaced by chief operating officer Kathy Blum in what the companys says is part of its growing up –and growing bigger process.

West led the medical device maker from a no-income start-up in 1998 to $25 million in revenue last year. It closed a $25 million venture deal in December 2002. The company has been among the top ten on lists of the fastest growing companies in North Carolina.

TriVirix provides contract medical device development and manufacturing a number of large medical device companies. It makes complex equipment such as heart defibrillators, kidney dialysis machines, and electronic patient monitors.

The Triangle Business Journal reports that the management change is connected to its pending acquisition of an unnamed Denmark firm, quoting unnamed sources.

Josh Rose, director of marketing at TriVirix tells Local Tech Wire the company “is still conducting due diligence and it’s too early for us to discuss it.”

Rose notes the company recently acquired UMM Electronics, an Indianapolis firm, and is growing partly through such acqusitions.

Rose says that the management switch is just a natural part of the TriVirix growth process. “Over the last couple of quarters, TriVirix has been changing its senior executive team to people with experience in companies the size we aspire to be, a $200 million company.”

The management switch was entirely amicable, Rose says.

Rose notes that Blum herself is one of these recent hires who brings with her 20 years experience at GE, eight with GE Medical. “It’s intended to get us to that next level,” he says.

West and the TriVirix board planned the management shift at the top as a “well-thought-out strategic move,” Rose says.

Although the company posted red ink last year, West told the Business Journal it is on track to profitability this year and expects to exceed last year’s $25 million in revenue significantly.

Rose says the company has a full product pipeline and recently signed new customers with large and prestigious companies he can’t name as yet. “We’re looking to have an excellent year.”

The company has about 180 employees, 27 in its Durham office.