Interim Valeant CEO Schiller expects to stick to the script--and that means being 'boring' in 2016

Interim Valeant CEO Howard Schiller

When Valeant ($VRX) installed former CFO Howard Schiller as interim CEO earlier this week, it said the board would continue to work closely with Schiller to implement company strategy in the absence of hospitalized chief J. Michael Pearson. But Schiller also has the authority to make big decisions on his own, should the need arise.

As he told the Financial Times Thursday, he's working to execute Valeant's new business plan, which it put in place at the end of last year. But "we can't put things on hold while Mike is absent," he said. "We need to run the businesses."

That's not to say there are big shake-ups coming for the Canadian drugmaker. After a tumultuous 2015 that featured political pushback for its price-hike strategy, allegations that it used its specialty pharmacy relationships to inflate its top line, and a plummet for its share price, Valeant's new job is "to be boring in the near to medium term," Schiller told the FT. Even before Dec. 28, when pneumonia-stricken Pearson went on medical leave, Valeant was planning some big changes for the new year--including going quiet on the dealmaking front and nixing nearly all of its planned price increases.

The way Schiller sees it, though, that's a good thing--and an important step for Valeant if it wants to put its rattled investors at ease.

"This year, people will see the business with no confusion, and without the impact of large acquisitions," he says. "There will be clarity in terms of cash flows, allowing us to regain confidence and credibility."

- see the FT story (sub. req.)

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