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Bioanalytical taps accountant for turnaround

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After more than two years leading West Lafayette-based Bioanalytical Systems Inc., CEO Anthony Chilton is out. And so is Alberto Hidalgo, the director of business development Chilton hired.

Instead, newly arrived Chief Financial Officer Jacqueline Lemke will take the reins of the company, at least on an interim basis. Bioanalytical performs laboratory tests on pharmaceutical compounds and makes some analytical instruments.

Chilton joined the company as chief operating officer of scientific services in December 2008—right as recession-induced trouble was setting in. Sales almost immediately started plunging as the recession took hold, falling from $42 million in 2008 to $29 million in 2010.

He took over as CEO in May of that year, and Bioanalytical was able to boost revenue back to $33 million in 2011. But revenue so far this year has been on pace to reach just $29 million.

And costs continued to be a problem. In the six months ended March 31, spending ran 23 percent ahead of revenue.

Over Chilton’s tenure, Bioanalytical’s shares lost 18 percent of their value, after losing nearly 80 percent of their value in the two years before he took the reins. The thinly traded stock closed Friday at 90 cents per share, unchanged by the news of Chilton’s departure.

Lemke has been with Bioanalytical only three months, but she already has launched aggressive cost-cutting plans.

“In this short time, she has significantly reduced the company's cost structure, refocused our marketing program, and instituted aggressive performance goals for all operating departments,” Bioanalytical board Chairman John Landis said in a statement. “Many more changes are in the works. As interim president and CEO, with continuing responsibility as CFO, we expect Jackie to complete the transformation of BASi and deliver the growth and profitability we believe this company is capable of delivering.”

Lemke, a certified public accountant, began her career as a tax consultant at Deloitte. Before joining Bioanalytical, she was Global CFO of Remy Inc., a division of Remy International Inc., based in Pendleton.

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