MORRISVILLE – Publicly-traded contract research organization Syneos Health has a new chief executive.

Michelle Keefe succeeds the retiring Alistair Macdonald.  Keefe was appointed to the CEO role after serving as president, medical affairs and commercial solutions.

Michelle Keefe, Syneos Health CEO. (Syneos Health image.)

“Syneos Health holds a unique market position to maximize benefits to customers while driving enhanced returns for shareholders,” said Keefe in a statement.  “I look forward to continuing to build on our successes as we accelerate toward becoming a more intelligent enterprise and impactful healthcare leader.”

Syneos Health employs approximately 28,000 workers globally, according to the company statement.  Macdonald will retire after 20 years of service, but will remain an advisor to the company through March 2023, the company said.

Along with the promotion to CEO, Keefe has tapped Michael Brooks to fill a newly created role of chief operating officer, the company announced.


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Earnings report

The company also announced its first quarter earnings results earlier today.

According to the company, it brought in more than $1.3 billion in revenue in the first quarter, an increase of 10.5% on a reported basis compared to the first quarter of 2021.  The company’s commercial solutions business increased revenues 18.1%, the company said.

Syneos Health generated $46.2 million in GAAP net income during the first quarter, up 19.2% from a year ago.  The diluted earnings per share based on that net income is $0.44, according to a statement.  But the company’s quarterly adjusted net income was $105 million, with earnings per share of $1.01, an increase of 26.3% compared to the same quarter in 2021, when Macdonald noted that the company was delivering on its “plan.”

Syneos Health bought two companies in a one-month span in 2021, acquiring RxDataScience and also buying StudyKIK.  The company also worked out a $400 million deal to acquire Synteract in a cash transaction.  Following that deal, the company raised $600 million in debt financing.  At the time, the company said in a statement that “the net proceeds of the offering will be used for general corporate purposes, including the funding of acquisitions, and for repayment of indebtedness.”

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