CEO Interview: M. Christine Jacobs of Theragenics

Seeking a Level Playing Field M. Christine JacobsChairman and CEO, Theragenics The economy is the issue—and pending regulations in both [...]

November 1 2010 by Dale Buss

Seeking a Level Playing Field

M. Christine Jacobs
Chairman and CEO, Theragenics

The economy is the issue—and pending regulations in both health care but also, more important, the SEC’s interpretation of the Dodd-Frank law. Also, I’m concerned about the tax ramifications of health-care reform. I’ve always been very focused on what’s been happening in [the company's areas of] cancer and medical devices, but I find that I have to be a different CEO in this environment because I am handicapping what could be very onerous regulations and policies that could erode our margins and profitability.

I and my colleagues are positioning ourselves for the future but not investing heavily. Nothing is predictable right now—not in my industry. What adds to that is macroeconomic uncertainty. Because of that, we can feel great about our company’s potential but I can’t get excited about whether we’re going to be able to grasp it.

The political climate is only one issue. The macroeconomic climate—unemployment, and what to do with underwater mortgages— has not been addressed. I’m concerned that the number of jobs created to do highway projects and bridges—while I agree with the intent—appear temporary.

For our company, I continue to look for opportunities from other people’s distressed assets and distressed circumstances. Whether we have Obamacare or not, people will continue to be ill—and we’re in medical devices.

Next year will probably be the same-old, same-old economy, perhaps with a slight uptick, but it won’t be by a full percentage point in terms of GDP.

Theragenics, an $80 million company based in Buford, Ga., is a leading supplier of medical devices in its segments, surgical products and prostate cancer treatment.