Jeffrey Green has stepped down as chief executive officer (CEO) of troubled US-based eClinical specialist Datatrak International, shortly after the company began to show encouraging signs of recovery in its last set of quarterly results.

Green has resigned with immediate effect as both CEO of Datatrak and as a member of its board of directors “to pursue other opportunities”, the company announced. He will remain “a valuable resource” for Datatrak, while board chairman Laurence Birch will provide support for the company’s CEO functions on an interim basis. Datatrak plans to start looking for a permanent chief executive officer “within the next several weeks”.

According to the company, the management change “represents an extension to those Datatrak announced in May 2008, and as such, the Company does not anticipate any material interruption” to its day-to-day operations.

Last May, Datatrak took some drastic steps to address its escalating financial losses, appointing a new board chairman and interim president as well as eliminating the position of chief operating officer. That included bringing in Birch as board chairman. Previously president and CEO of research and drug development company Neopharm, Birch had already served for a year on the Datatrak board and was a member of the board’s audit committee.

In July 2008, Datatrak retained Healthcare Growth Partners as a strategic and financial advisor to help the board evaluate a range of possibilities for the company, including a sale, merger or other business combination as well as strategic partnerships or alliances.

In the third quarter of 2008, though, Datatrak delivered what Green described as an “encouraging improvement” that was “starting to show the Company’s return to sound business fundamentals”. Revenues increased by 11.8% to US$2.37 million while operating losses shrank by 55.2% against the third quarter of 2007 to US$1.57 million.

New ideas, new energy

Birch thanked Green for “his dedication and contributions to Datatrak over the last 17 years”, adding that since early 2008 the company had “revamped its management team allowing for an influx of new ideas, new strategies and new energy. In that short period of time, the team has made great strides in re-positioning Datatrak.”

While the focus last year was on restructuring the company’s operations “to more appropriately align Datatrak’s cost structure with our backlog levels and anticipated revenues, we believe we are now in a position to shift our efforts entirely to maximising operational performance”, Birch stated.

“In 2009, we will re-establish our focus on existing and potential clients with the goal of addressing their needs in electronic data collection. While the current economic climate has impacted the clinical trial industry, we are a leaner organisation today than we have been historically, and believe we have the agility to navigate through this difficult environment.”