Glass Lewis stands up for Forest's board slate

Now, Forest Laboratories ($FRX) has the backing of a proxy adviser. Unconvinced by activist investor Carl Icahn's company critiques, Glass Lewis & Co. threw its weight behind the company's entire slate of board nominees.

One of Icahn's key complaints about Forest is its board's alleged lack of independence. Too many members have served for too long and are too closely allied with management, whatever their tenure on the board, Icahn says. But Glass Lewis begs to differ: Forest "has made notable strides in its corporate governance, as the company's newest directors ... have been given significant input in various matters."

Obviously, Glass Lewis doesn't agree with Institutional Shareholder Services, which supports two of Icahn's proposed directors. Yesterday, ISS said Icahn has "demonstrated a compelling case that change at the board level is needed." ISS recommended nominees Daniel Ninivaggi, who has "considerable experience as an operating executive in a similarly challenging industry," and Pierre Legault, former CFO of OSI Pharma.

ISS didn't back Icahn's other nominees, Eric Ende and Andrew Fromkin. Forest has said that Icahn's slate has too many conflicts to serve the interests of shareholders, citing Ende's service on the board at the biotech company Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and Fromkin's former role as CEO at Clinical Data, which was bought out by Forest.

- see the Reuters news

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