Elan fights off audit by 'dissident directors'

Elan is fighting a two-front battle these days: Fending off attacks from dissident shareholder Ib Sonderby on one side, and now defending itself against two independent directors who want to launch their own company audit.

Sonderby has been calling for the head of CEO Kelly Martin (photo) and raising questions about insider dealmaking. Now, directors Jack Schuler (ex-president of Abbott Laboratories) and Vaughn Bryson (former CEO of Eli Lilly), who won seats on the board last year, are aiming to investigate Elan's corporate governance. A significant shareholder in Elan, Schuler has been a vocal critic of management for some time now; indeed, that's why he and Bryson were asked to join the board. 

Elan may have knuckled under to Schuler's criticism before, but this time, it's fighting back. The company won a temporary restraining order blocking Schuler and Bryson's investigation, saying it would interfere with the company's own review of potential conflicts of interest. The results of that probe are expected at next week's board meeting. Meanwhile, as Reuters reports, Sonderby plans a conference call this Wednesday about his Elan campaign.

- check out the article in the Financial Times
- read the Reuters news
- see the story from Irish Times