Final member of Inogen’s founding team to leave company
Ali Bauerlein, one of Inogen’s co-founders, has stepped down from her post as the company’s CFO, effective immediately on Dec. 13.
According to a company news release, Mike Sergesketter has been appointed interim CFO while Inogen look to fill the position.
Bauerlein will stay at Inogen in a transitional finance role through the first quarter of 2022, the company said. She has been honored in the Business Times’ 40 under 40, Champions in Healthcare, Top Women in Business and Top CFOs.
Bauerlein and her two co-founders, Brenton Taylor and Byron Meyers, were students at UC Santa Barbara when they won a university competition with their idea for a portable oxygen concentrator.
With her departure, all three founders of the Goleta-based medical device company have left their executive positions in the past six months. Taylor, who served as Inogen’s chief technology officer, left the company in October, while Meyers, who was Inogen’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, left in June.
“It has been an honor to work with such an exceptional and committed team over the past 20 years to help improve the lives of patients worldwide,” Bauerlein said in a company news release. “As part of Inogen’s founding team, I am proud of our innovative and market-leading product portfolio, and I look forward to following Inogen’s continued evolution and success.”
Inogen was founded in part to help Bauerlein’s grandmother, Mae, who used supplemental oxygen therapy. Her grandmother had complained about the difficulties of constantly switching tanks and carrying around an extra supply of bottles.
The trio then came up with the idea of a portable oxygen container, which would allow people to get the oxygen they need but not be limited by a bulky, heavy tank. They received funding to start the company the year after their idea won the 2001 UCSB New Venture Competition.
“Having an impact on my grandmother was very rewarding to me. Actually being able to give her a product that she used for a few years before she passed away was incredible,” Bauerlein told the Business Times in 2013. “She got to go on cruises and travel and do things she didn’t think she could do.”
Inogen has gone through ups and downs during its 20-year run. The company went public in 2014, debuting at $16 a share and raising about $70 million from its initial public offering.
Shares hit an all-time high in 2018 at more than $282.
Those shares tumbled in 2019, however, falling as low as $50. Inogen shares closed at $32.55 on Dec. 14.
Inogen has been profitable for years, though, with the exception of a few fiscal quarters during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company beat analysts’ expectations in each of the last two quarters and delivering positive net income and growing revenue.
Inogen also hired a new CEO, Nabil Shabshab, earlier this year.
But, supply chain constraints have hindered the company’s potential. Shares of Inogen traded above $80 earlier this year, then tumbled 27% in a single day in August, after the company shared its second quarter results, which revealed the extent of its supply chain issues.
“The changes we have made to our executive team support our continued strategic evolution and our goal of transforming Inogen into a more prominent player in respiratory care,” Shabshab said in the company’s news release. “I’m confident Mike’s strong experience in finance, strategic manufacturing and M&A, as well as his global perspective, will be a tremendous asset as we continue to execute against our plans. I am grateful for the time and collaboration I have had with Ali and want to thank her for her many contributions as a key member of the team that launched and grew Inogen. I wish her well in her future endeavors.”