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December 21, 2018

Vets First Choice announces new name, leadership team, when merger is completed

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Benjamin Shaw, founder and CEO of Vets First Choice. The Portland-based company, founded in 2010, announced today that its name will change to Covetrus when its merger with a spinoff of Henry Schein Inc. is completed early next year.
Courtesy / Vets First Choice
The new logo of Covetrus, which is the name that Vets First Choice will take when its merger is completed with a spinoff of Harry Schein.

About Henry Schein

Headquartered in Melville, N.Y., Henry Schein has operations or affiliates in 34 countries. It has more than 22,000 employees and more than 1 million customers globally. The company's sales reached a record $12.5 billion in 2017, and have grown at a compound annual rate of approximately 15% since Henry Schein became a public company in 1995.

About Vets First Choice

Vets First Choice in Portland is an innovator in technology-enabled services that empower veterinarians with insights that are designed to increase customer engagement and veterinary practice health. Vets First Choice's platform, which is integrated with veterinary practice management software workflow, leverages insight and analytics, client engagement services and pharmacy services, to deliver improved medical compliance via proactive prescription management. By working directly with veterinary practices to manage gaps in care, Vets First Choice seeks to enable its veterinarian customers to create new revenue opportunities, adapt to changing pet owner purchasing behaviors, enhance their client relationships and improve quality of care and health outcomes.

Vets First Choice and Henry Schein Inc. (Nasdaq: HSIC) announced Thursday a new name and the leadership structure for the new standalone public company that will result from the planned spin-off of the Henry Schein Animal Health business and the subsequent merger with Vets First Choice.

The new company will be named Covetrus, which the two companies explain in this way: "'Co-' highlights working together as partners, anchored by 'vet' at the center of what the company will do, and '-us' reinforces the notion of a team of professionals who will serve as an extension of the veterinary practice."

As announced in April, the independent publicly traded company formed by the merger will remain based in Portland. Benjamin Shaw, founder and CEO of Vets First Choice, will be the CEO of Covetrus once the transaction is completed, which is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2019.

Vets First Choice, founded in Portland in 2010, has approximately 800 employees in the United States and 5,100 veterinary practices on its prescription-management platform. In the announcement of the planned merger last spring, Henry Schein stated it expects to receive between $1.0 billion and $1.25 billion in cash on a tax-free basis as part of the transaction. It will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including share repurchases, repayment of indebtedness and acquisition opportunities, according to the April news release.

Covetrus's future headquarters in Portland's East End — a $20 million 170,000-square-foot building at 12 Mountfort St. — will be about a 10-minute walk from Vets First Choice's current headquarters at 7 Custom House St., Portland.

The seven-story multi-use complex, which will include a pharmacy and fulfillment center, offices and labs, will support more than 1,500 employees and create "hundreds of new professional jobs for Maine residents," the company said this fall. A pharmacy and fulfillment center are expected to be complete in October 2019; offices, labs and other space should be finished by April 2020.

'Advancing the world of veterinary medicine'

Vets First Choice CEO Benjamin Shaw said the new name is meant to convey the "unique capabilities and differentiated value proposition that this combined entity will deliver to veterinary customers across the globe."

The new company, Covetrus, will be a global, technology-enabled animal health business supporting the companion, equine and large-animal veterinary markets. Covetrus will combine leading practice management software, prescription management, multi-channel client engagement services, and supply chain infrastructure to promote connectivity between veterinarians and their clients.

It will employ more than 5,000 team members across approximately 25 countries, delivering integrated solutions to help veterinary practices to improve the economics and workflow of their businesses and enhance the client experience. The business will have approximately 100,000 customers across major geographic regions, including North America, Europe, Australasia and South America.

"It was important to create a new brand and new name that demonstrates our long-term commitment for veterinary practice customers to always be at the center of our business," Shaw said. "We are committed 'To Advancing the World of Veterinary Medicine' by empowering our customers with compelling new capabilities and services to drive new health and financial outcomes to ensure their continued success."

Executive leadership team named

The two companies also announced Thursday the proposed executive leadership team of Covetrus.

As previously announced, Benjamin Shaw will become CEO of the combined company and serve as a member of the board of directors. The executive leadership team of Covetrus will include:

  • Christine T. Komola, executive vice president and chief financial officer
  • Erin Powers Brennan, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary
  • Russell Cooke, senior vice president and operational chief financial officer
  • Francis X. Dirksmeier, senior vice president and president, North America
  • David Christopher Dollar, senior vice president and president, software and services
  • Michael Ellis, senior vice president and president, Europe
  • David Hinton, senior vice president and president, APAC and emerging markets
  • Timothy Ludlow, senior vice president and chief transformation officer
  • Anthony Providenti, senior vice president, corporate development
  • Georgina Wraight, senior vice president and president, Vets First Choice
  • James Young, senior vice president and chief human resources officer.

"This is an impressive and talented leadership team, and we are honored to lead this soon-to-be new independent organization," said Shaw. "This executive team will ensure strong continuity of leadership across all lines of business and geography and includes new talent to facilitate a smooth transition into an independent public company. Importantly, our team is committed to meeting and exceeding the expectations of our customers."

Henry Schein Animal Health and Vets First Choice will continue to operate as two independent, separate organizations prior to the closing of the transaction.

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