Manzi returns as Thermo Fisher chair

Thermo Fisher Scientific has brought back Jim Manzi as the non-executive chairman of the board, the company announced Monday.

Manzi was the chair of Thermo Electron from December 2003 to November 2006, when the Waltham, Mass.-based company acquired Hampton, N.H.-based Fisher Scientific, even though it was twice the size.

Manzi, who had remained on the board, will replace Paul Meister, who resigned April 10 as chair. Meister, Fisher’s vice chair at the time of the merger, was the only Fisher official to become one of the top leaders in the new company.

Most former Fisher executives stepped down, walking away with nearly $100 million in cash, equity compensation and pension deals, but the agreement had called for Meister to chair an eight-person board that would include only two other former Fisher executives.

The agreement allowed the Fisher board members to vote on their replacements, but a company spokesperson said that Meister’s board seat still remained vacant. His replacement – while chosen by former Fisher board members – did not have to necessarily come from Fisher, according to the spokesperson.

Despite the leadership change, and an undisclosed number of “reductions” at the former Hampton headquarters, the Thermo Fisher spokesperson said the number of employees working in New Hampshire has actually increased since the merger, the spokesperson said.

The merger agreement calls for the Hampton facility to remain open for at least three years.

Manzi is chairman of Stonegate Capital, which he founded in 1995, shortly after he left Lotus Development Corp., where he worked for 11 years. He served as Lotus’ CEO and oversaw development of the widely used Lotus Notes. – BOB SANDERS

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