Science and technology leader Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR – $73.65) reported net earnings for the first quarter of $579.7 million, or $0.81 per share on a diluted basis, an 8% increase over the first quarter of 2013. Sales were $4.7 billion, 5% above the $4.4 billion reported for the same period last year. Analysts had expected Danaher to report $0.80 per share on a top line of $4.67 billion. The company anticipates diluted net earnings per share for the second quarter will be in the range of $0.90 to $0.94 (vs. $0.87 last year), a few cents short of Wall Street estimates, but management has had a reputation of conservative guidance in the past. Likewise, the company reaffirmed its full year 2014 per share guidance of $3.60 to $3.75; again on the conservative edge of expectations. Separately, Danaher announced that CEO H. Lawrence Culp Jr. will retire next March and will be succeeded by executive vice president Thomas P. Joyce, Jr. Joyce has held several positions at the diversified company and currently has responsibility for Danaher’s water quality, life sciences and diagnostics businesses, which collectively represent over $9 billion of annual revenues. Although the position in DHR is up nearly 70% since joining the conservative portfolio, I continue to like the shares with its potential for ample long-term capital gains and further dividend growth through late decade.