Chief Executive Officer, Michael Pearson, of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. has taken a medical leave of absence. In his stead, the company has named former Chief Financial Officer, Howard Schiller, as the interim CEO, while Bob Ingram will take the place of interim chairman.
Pearson has been hospitalized with severe pneumonia, and when he will return remains uncertain. The company officially disclosed Pearson’s hospitalization on Christmas Day.
From December 2011 through June 2015, Schiller served as the company’s CFO and is on its board of directors. But in June of 2015, he stepped down, saying he wished to “pursue new opportunities most likely in areas outside of a publicly-traded company.”
But this announcement doesn’t come at the best of times.
According to a report from the FDA: “That team immediately faces a series of controversies—including congressional questions about its product pricing and an insider trading lawsuit.”
Before his illness, “Pearson had promised shareholders to provide more transparent data about Valeant’s business, including sales figures for its top 30 drugs,” according to Bloomberg Business.
A press release from Winnipeg Free Press stated that:
“The announcement comes as Valeant tries to overcome controversies that have slashed its stock price by more than half since it posted record highs in August.
Questions have mounted over whether Valeant became too big for its own good by embarking on a series of acquisitions in recent years while cutting research and development spending.
It has also faced accusations of drug price gouging and concerns were further raised about its previously undisclosed relationship with a U.S. mail-order pharmacy—an affiliation it later severed.
There were calls for Pearson to step down, but he was defiant, vowing to put the company’s troubles behind.”
Another source says that “Pearson’s medical leave doesn’t matter,” stating that the CEO can’t solve Valeant’s fundamental problem: that the company’s growth strategy is broken.
But, the story isn’t over yet. Hopefully, Pearson (and Valeant) will have a swift recovery.
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Filed Under: Drug Discovery