Bill Brown, Chairman
Bill was appointed to the Board on 21 October 2011 and became Chairman on 3 July 2012. Bill is a chartered accountant with over 30 years’ experience in advising and investing in high growth smaller companies. Has floated several companies and has significant experience in fund raisings, corporate deals and restructurings.
He launched the first dedicated fund for AIM and was instrumental in the growth and internationalisation of AIM as a member and Chairman of the AIM Advisory Committee. He joined the Aortech Board in late 2011 and, having conducted a strategic review, concluded that despite the Company having outstanding technology, its business model would not succeed. Since then, the historic problems have been addressed and a strategy developed to monetise the core technology.
In addition to conducting and negotiating the resolution of the recent legal dispute, Bill has dealt with the licensing, commercial and IP issues gaining a detailed understanding of all of the Company’s projects and opportunities.
David Richmond, Chief Executive Officer
David Joined the board of AorTech International plc in June 2018 and became Chief Executive of RUA Life Sciences in April 2020 when he sold RUA Medical to the Group.
David is a 5th generation lace manufacturer in the family business Flemings Laces Ltd, founded in 1881. In 2000, Flemings Laces Ltd sold their glass fibre fabric business to Scott and Fyfe. David’s entrepreneurial spark enabled the founding of the current medical device business in 2004, with specialties in fabric manufacture. The RUA branding was borne out of David’s merchant navy career, where RUA was redhead David’s gaelic nickname ‘on the boats’. David has previously held the CTO role in Lombard Medical, and excels in bringing together business development with novel innovation.
Caroline Stretton, Group Chief Operating Officer
Dr Caroline Stretton joined the Board in January 2021 having been appointed as Group Chief Operating Officer on 1 April 2020, following the Company’s acquisition of RUA Medical Devices. Caroline joined RUA Medical in 2018 from prosthetic hand manufacturer, Touch Bionics Limited, where, prior to its sale in 2016 to Icelandic orthotic and prosthetic manufacturer Ossur, she was a key member of the leadership team responsible for Global Manufacturing, Operations, Quality and Customer Support. Previously, Caroline had been employed by a number of medical device and pharmaceutical companies in a variety of roles, most notably Ivax Pharmaceuticals (now Teva Pharmaceuticals), Ocutec Limited and Mpathy Medical Devices Limited, a surgical medical device company which achieved a multi-million-pound exit to Danish surgical medical device manufacturer, Coloplast, in 2010. Caroline is a graduate of, and holds a PhD in, Pure and Applied Chemistry from, the University of Strathclyde.
John McKenna, Director of Clinical Marketing
John McKenna is a leading marketing expert in the field of cardiovascular devices. With over 30 years’ experience in cardiothoracic surgery, he has helped develop and launched a number of successful devices, including heart valves, large vessel grafts and stents.
John has worked for a number of leading medical companies, including Pfizer, Vascutek (Terumo) and CryoLife, and has contacts with both leading heart surgeons and senior executives at the major device companies.
John rejoined the AorTech Board in late 2016, and has helped develop the product strategy based on his analysis of competing products and current market need from the industry.
He has established European-wide distribution networks for medical devices and OEM supply agreements, particularly in heart valve related products.
John Ely, non-Executive Director, Heart Valve Expert
John is a recognised expert in cardiovascular devices and spent 7 years at the FDA, where he was responsible for a team that approved cardiovascular medical devices, including heart valves. In industry, he has successfully managed the process of obtaining pre-market approvals for 6 heart valves, including both tissue and mechanical valves.
He has also led research and development, regulatory and quality assurance teams at Baxter International Inc., Edwards Lifesciences Corporation and On-X Life Technologies, Inc. John has authored over 25 scientific papers and is the named inventor on 3 US patents.
He was previously engaged as an expert witness in the area of heart valve design and development process, giving him an intimate knowledge of AorTech’s heart valve project.
Geoffrey Berg, non-Executive Director, Cardiovascular Expert
Geoff was formerly a consultant heart surgeon at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow where he specialised in surgical treatment of valvular heart disease and was recognised as one of the leading surgeons in mitral valve repair and replacement.
He has authored a number of scientific papers on the treatment of heart disease and conducted studies into the long term performance of replacement heart valves. He has been involved in the early stage development of a number of cardiovascular devices, including a stentless animal tissue heart valve, and the launch of the only biological valved conduit. He is a recognised authority on stentless aortic valve surgery and has co-authored papers on stentless versus stented aortic valve insertions.
Ian Ardill, non-Executive Director
Ian Ardill has over 25 years’ experience in senior financial positions, with the majority of that time being spent in medical devices and pharmaceuticals. He is currently Managing Director of Causeway Finance Associates Limited, a CFO and accountancy consultancy focussed in Life Sciences, which he founded in 2017. Previously, he was Chief Financial Officer of Diurnal Limited, which he joined in April 2015 ahead of the company’s successful IPO on AIM in December 2015. Prior to that, Ian was Chief Financial Officer of two other listed companies. With Lombard Medical Technologies plc, from 2012 to 2015, he led the company financially through the late stages of FDA pre-market approval and the commencement of US commercial operations. On the financing front, he managed a £22 million fundraising on AIM and the company’s IPO on NASDAQ raising $55 million. With Biocompatibles International plc, from 2003 to 2011, he played a leading role in transforming the company from a loss-making to a profitable enterprise with sales of £33 million. He also managed the company’s sale to BTG Plc in 2011 for £177 million and two returns of capital to shareholders totalling £23 million. Ian is a graduate of Warwick University and qualified as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton.