Valeant CEO Pearson on medical leave, company being run by 3-man exec group
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals on Monday announced CEO Michael Pearson will be on indefinite medical leave following his hospitalization for severe pneumonia. Three Valeant executives will jointly form an "Office of the Chief Executive Officer," assuming Pearson's duties until his return.
- The new office of the CEO will include three current executive vice presidents: general counsel Robert Chai-Onn, company group chairman Ari Kellen, and CFO Robert Rosiello. A separate committee has been created by Valeant's Board to oversee the new office.
- Valeant share price, already under pressure from months of scrutiny over the company's pricing strategies, fell nearly 10% in early trading Monday morning.
Valeant has been under heavy pressure in recent months for its now-terminated relationship with specialty pharmacy Philidor and its aggressive pricing of off-patent drugs. As the debate over drug pricing heated up this fall, Valeant came under Congressional scrutiny for increasing the price of two heart medications, Nitropress and Isuprel, after acquiring the drugs.
Under Pearson, the company has fought back, hiring crisis response PR and legal teams. In December, Valeant announced a drug-distribution deal with Walgreens to replace its severed relationship with Philidor.
Valeant will face yet another challenge with Pearson on medical leave.
"In the meantime, the Board of Directors has full confidence in [the executive team] to preserve continuity of the Valeant operations and protect the long-term strength of the company while Mike [Pearson] is out," said lead independent director Robert Ingram in a statement.
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