Hard on the heels of third-quarter results that saw its operating losses more than quadruple to US$6.11 million on a 9.3% decline in net service revenues, etrials Worldwide has appointed Denis Connaghan as permanent president and chief executive officer (CEO) to replace Chuck Piccirillo, who has been filling these roles on an interim basis since 10 July.

The US-based supplier of adaptive eClinical software and services described the new recruit as a “seasoned executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in the software and healthcare industries”. Connaghan was most recently managing director responsible for global operations and global information technology programme management offices at March USA. Before that he was CEO of P2Plink, a medical transaction business for workers’ compensation owned by The Hartford Insurance and Marsh USA.

Piccirillo will resume his position as vice president of technology at etrials. Connaghan said it was “an exciting time to join etrials as the company progresses with its extensive re-engineering plan”, adding that etrials was “positioning itself to gain market share and scale the business in the growing eClinical market”. According to board chairman Robert Brill, Connaghan is “an accomplished team builder with a solid understanding of the intersection of healthcare and technology, the cornerstone of etrials’ integrated suite of eClinical applications”.

Last July, etrials’ president and CEO, Eugene Jennings, stepped down after just 14 months with the company. A healthcare industry veteran, Jennings had been brought in amid efforts to turn around etrials’ operations following a period of turmoil that saw the departure of former CEO John Cline during 2007. The months preceding Jennings’ resignation had witnessed the elimination of Peter Benton’s position as etrials’ chief operating officer and the resignation of secretary, treasurer and chief financial officer James Clark.

In October etrials said it had taken on Emerging Growth Equities (EGE) as an exclusive financial advisor “to assist in evaluating strategic or other alternatives with a focus on acquisitions that may be available to the Company”.