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Guidant COO Neels Retires

He'll serve as a special adviser to the chairman until the end of the year.
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Guido J. Neels retired as



chief operating officer, effective Wednesday, becoming the second top executive to leave the Indianapolis-based medical-device maker this month.

The company, which is in the process of being acquired by

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Free Report

, offered little additional information. In a short document filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, Guidant said Neels will serve as a special adviser to the chairman until the end of the year and represent the company at the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

Neels became operating chief in May 2004. Before that, he was group chairman in the company's office of the president. Among his previous positions, he had been the president of Guidant operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada. He first joined

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Free Report

, Guidant's former parent company, in 1982.

He's exiting his post two weeks after the departure of Ronald Dollens as chief executive. Dollens had postponed his initial retirement plans to advise on the J&J deal, but once the companies amended the terms of their merger, he stepped down. Chairman James Cornelius was named interim CEO.

Guidant agreed to a new pact with J&J earlier this month after the transaction nearly fell apart. After J&J said it wanted out of its $25.4 billion takeover bid following a series of regulatory setbacks for Guidant, the companies reached an arrangement valued around $21.5 billion, or $19 billion net of Guidant's cash.

The new offer will see Guidant shareholders get $63.08 in cash and stock, down 17% from the original proposal of $76 a share.