Could Icahn deliver at Forest without his go-to veterans?

Campaigning for his slate of Forest Laboratories ($FRX) board nominees, Carl Icahn has been touting his success at delivering returns to shareholders at other biopharma companies. Biogen Idec ($BIIB), Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and Genzyme included.

But industry experts--and some officials at these very companies--say a couple of Icahn associates were key to those accomplishments: Alex Denner and Richard Mulligan. And those two men aren't on Icahn's Forest slate. In fact, they're not part of Icahn's team at all. Denner left last year to start a new hedge fund, and Mulligan is following, Reuters notes.

These folks say that Denner and Mulligan brought scientific expertise and experience to the boardroom table. "Their contacts, their understanding of the science and the nuances of what's happening in the world of biotech have been terrific," Biogen director Robert Pangia told Reuters.

None of the Forest nominees is as steeped in science as Mulligan, who's been a genetics professor at Harvard University. But two have some industry experience: Andrew Fromkin, former CEO of Clinical Data, a company Forest bought; and Pierre Legault, who's served as an executive at big drugmakers and a small biotech company. Icahn argues that they and his other two nominees can deliver similar results. "The most important thing ... is to have someone who is willing to take the difficult steps to hold management accountable," Icahn told the news service."

What will Forest's shareholders believe? That's up in the air. As Reuters points out, two proxy advisory firms have taken different stances: ISS recommends two on Icahn's slate, including Legault, while Glass Lewis backed none of the dissident nominees. We'll know soon, however; the company's annual meeting is next Wednesday.

- read the Reuters analysis

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