No stranger to controversy, Quebec-based drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals has initiated the search for a new chief executive, with current CEO Michael Pearson set to step down once a replacement has been found.
The Canadian company has lost nearly 90 percent of its value since August, owing to criticism of its pricing and distribution methods, along with investigations into improper conduct among the firm’s top finance executives.
Howard Schiller, Valeant’s former CFO, refused a request to step down from the board, despite admissions from the company that he had contributed to the “misstatement” of Valeant’s results.
Schiller responded, stating: “As a result of the fact that I did not engage in any improper conduct regarding this proposed restatement [of results], I have respectfully declined the request from the company’s board to resign from the board”.
The firm is currently facing an investigation by the SEC into its ties with online pharmacy Philidor and an investigation by Congress centring on its drug pricing structure.
Corporate Director Katharine Stevenson, meanwhile, has voluntarily resigned in order to make way for investor, nine percent stakeholder and Chief Executive of Pershing Square Capital Management, Bill Ackman. In a statement, Ackman said that the company’s large scale and dominant franchises in eye care, dermatology, GI and other therapeutic areas, together with its low valuation, make for “a spectacular opportunity for a world-class healthcare executive”.
Pearson noted that it had been a privilege to lead Valeant for the past eight years, although he admitted the business had been adversely impacted by controversies in the last few months. Chairman of the Board Robert Ingram struck a relatively positive note, saying: “While the past few months have been difficult, Valeant has a collection of leading brands, valuable franchises and great people, and I am confident that the company will be able to rebuild its reputation and thrive under new leadership.”