It appears that weeks of acerbic attacks against the oversight of the Forest Laboratories board and the rule of its octogenarian CEO Howard Solomon has paid off for investor Carl Icahn, getting him a supporter on the board. How effective a single voice can be in what may be a very hostile work environment is hard to imagine.
Forest says that one of Icahn's four nominees, Pierre Legault, has unseated current director Dan Goldwasser on the 10-member board, Reuters and Bloomberg report. Legault has experience at a number of pharma companies. Goldwasser was chairman of the compensation committee, which came under special scorn from Icahn for not being transparent enough about why it was bumping up Solomon's pay even as earnings were declining.
This is Icahn's second run at Forest. Last year, all four of his nominees were turned back. Some experts have questioned whether this run by Icahn can be as successful as similar efforts at Biogen Idec ($BIIB), Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and Genzyme because he didn't have industry experts Alex Denner and Richard Mulligan, who had helped in those cases. And that was even if he got all his picks on board.
Legault's presence is likely to place a chill on the meetings given that his election follows a bitter, public fight after the board initially rejected Ichan's offer to add just two members. The 84-year-old CEO disputes Icahn's criticisms--including charges that he's mismanaging Forest's response to the Lexapro patent expiration. But Icahn, age 76, was relentless and personal with the accusations; Icahn and Solomon even traded assaults on each other's sons. Icahn has claimed Solomon, with the blessing of a too cozy board, intends to make his son CEO of the company, treating the company more like a dynasty than a business. Solomon pointed out that Icahn had appointed his own son to the boards of public companies he controls.
There were signs that the tide was turning for Icahn. The Forest board just last week agreed to settle shareholder derivative lawsuits that claimed they had not been open on compensation and had been too supportive of Solomon.
- here's the Reuters story
- get more from Bloomberg
Could Icahn deliver at Forest without his go-to veterans?
Forest CEO goes mano-a-mano with Carl Icahn
Icahn slams Forest for undisclosed FDA warning
Forest board yields in investor lawsuits
Like what you're reading?
Click here to get more news like this delivered to your inbox>>