WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

                       Report of Foreign Private Issuer

                       Pursuant to Rule 13a-16 or 15d-16
                       of the Securities Exchange Act of

                                  May 03, 2007

                       Commission File Number 001-14978

                              SMITH & NEPHEW plc
                              (Registrant's name)

                                15 Adam Street
                           London, England WC2N 6LA
             (Address of registrant's principal executive offices)

     [Indicate by check mark whether the registrant files or will file annual
reports under cover Form 20-F or Form 40-F.]

               Form 20-F  X                   Form 40-F
                         ---                            ---

     [Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K in
paper as permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(1).]

               Yes                            No  X
                   ---                           ---

     [Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K in
paper as permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(7).]

               Yes                            No  X
                   ---                           ---

     [Indicate by check mark whether by furnishing the information contained
in this Form, the registrant is also thereby furnishing information to the
Commission pursuant to Rule 12g3-2 (b) under the Securities Exchange Act of

               Yes                            No  X
                   ---                           ---

     If "Yes" is marked, indicate below the file number assigned to the
registrant in connection with Rule 12g3-2 (b) : 82- n/a.


     Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the
registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the
undersigned thereunto duly authorized.

                                                 Smith & Nephew plc

Date: May 03, 2007
                                                  By:   /s/ Paul Chambers
                                                 Paul Chambers
                                                 Company Secretary

Sir Christopher O'Donnell to retire as Chief Executive - David Illingworth
appointed as successor

3 May 2007

Smith & Nephew plc (LSE: SN, NYSE: SNN), the global medical technology business,
announced today that Sir Christopher O'Donnell (60) will retire as Chief
Executive on June 30th and as a director of the Company on July 31st 2007.

Sir Christopher joined Smith & Nephew in 1988 and has been Chief Executive since
1997. He joined Smith & Nephew as Managing Director of the company's Medical
Division having previously been Managing Director of Vickers Medical Division
and Vice-President, Europe for CR Bard, Inc.  Since 2003 he has jointly chaired
the UK government/industry Health Care Industries Task Force.

As Chief Executive of Smith & Nephew Sir Christopher has overseen two clear
phases of the company's development.  Initially he was responsible for the
streamlining of the company from nine to the current four divisions focusing on
innovative products to help patients regain their lives.  Since the end of the
rationalisation programme in 2003 the company has grown from a turnover of
$1.9bn to $2.8bn in 2006.

David Illingworth (53), who has been Chief Operating Officer of Smith & Nephew
since February 2006, will be promoted to Chief Executive with effect from July
1st 2007.  Prior to his appointment as Chief Operating Officer he was President
of Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics division.  He has 28 years experience in the
medical technology industry of which 15 were with GE Medical.  He has led
companies in the areas of diagnostic imaging, respiratory, and urological
products, as well as heading up a technology incubator company.  He is a
graduate of Texas A&M University and is a member of the Corporate Advisory
Council of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

John Buchanan, Chairman of Smith & Nephew, commenting on these changes said: "
During his ten years as Chief Executive, Chris O'Donnell has transformed Smith &
Nephew into a focused global leader in medical devices and created substantial
shareholder value.  The Board thank and congratulate him for his outstanding
contribution to the company which he has served with high integrity and

"We are delighted to announce the promotion of David Illingworth to Chief
Executive following his appointment as Chief Operating Officer last year.  His
extensive medical technology experience with GE Medical and other leading
medtech companies, coupled with the strong business performance he has
demonstrated as President of our Orthopaedics businesses, and latterly as Chief
Operating Officer, show he has the leadership qualities needed to continue the
development of Smith & Nephew as an outstanding medical device company."

Sir Christopher O'Donnell commented:  "It has been a pleasure and a privilege to
lead Smith & Nephew and to make a positive contribution to its development.  The
time is now right for me to hand this excellent business to a new team. Over the
last five years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with David and I believe
his skills and experience will enable him to be an outstanding leader for Smith
& Nephew."

David Illingworth said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Chris and wish
him continued success during his retirement. Smith & Nephew is a great company
and I look forward to working with my colleagues and our customers to build it
into an even greater business."


Liz Hewitt                                       Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7401 7646
Smith & Nephew
Group Director Corporate Affairs

Financial Dynamics
David Yates / Deborah Scott - London             Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7831 3113
Jonathan Birt - New York                         Tel:  +1 212 850 5634

About Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business, specialising in
Orthopaedic Reconstruction, Orthopaedic Trauma and Clinical Therapies, Endoscopy
and Advanced Wound Management products.  Smith & Nephew is a global leader in
arthroscopy and advanced wound management and is one of the leading global
orthopaedics companies.

Smith & Nephew is dedicated to helping improve people's lives.  The Company
prides itself on the strength of its relationships with its surgeons and
professional healthcare customers, with whom its name is synonymous with high
standards of performance, innovation and trust.  The Company has 8,800 employees
and operates in 31 countries around the world generating annual sales
approaching $2.8 billion.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  In
particular, statements regarding expected revenue growth and trading margins
discussed under "Outlook" are forward-looking statements as are discussions of
our product pipeline.  These statements, as well as the phrases "aim", "plan",
"intend", "anticipate", "well-placed", "believe", "estimate", "expect",
"target", "consider" and similar expressions, are generally intended to identify
forward-looking statements.  Such forward-looking statements involve known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors (including, but not
limited to, the outcome of litigation, claims and regulatory approvals) that
could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Smith & Nephew,
or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance
or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  Please
refer to the documents that Smith & Nephew has filed with the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as
amended, including Smith & Nephew's most recent annual report on Form 20F, for a
discussion of certain of these factors.

All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information
available to Smith & Nephew as of the date hereof.  All written or oral
forward-looking statements attributable to Smith & Nephew or any person acting
on behalf of Smith & Nephew are expressly qualified in their entirety by the
foregoing.  Smith & Nephew does not undertake any obligation to update or revise
any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Smith &
Nephew's expectation with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or
circumstances on which any such statement is based.