Icahn demands Amylin chair's head

Good ol' Carl Icahn. Just when you think he's pushing hard enough, he pushes harder. The activist billionaire has called for Amylin Chairman Joseph Cook to throw in the towel. Icahn wrote Cook--who's also Amylin's former CEO--to tell the exec that he should just clear out his desk already, Reuters reports.

"Like an 'imperial' chairman you have taken steps to entrench yourself that we believe to be unconscionable," Icahn said in the letter. Icahn also pointed out that said "imperial chairman" led the company during a massive destruction of shareholder value, blaming that decline on Cook's bad strategy and poor decisions.

Among Icahn's beefs? Its partnership with Lilly on the Amylin-developed diabetes med Byetta. Icahn says Amylin should have licensed Byetta to Lilly in return for royalties, rather than embarking on a joint-marketing arrangement, because Amylin simply can't afford to maintain the big sales operation that a primary-care drug like Byetta requires.

Icahn is aiming to seat five personal nominees on Amylin's board of directors. Another minority investor, Eastbourne Capital Management, has nominated five of its own. Meanwhile, dissension in the Amylin ranks is surfacing, with Amylin co-founder joining Icahn in criticizing Cook's leadership. The battle is just heating up, so stay tuned.

- check out Icahn's letter
- see the response from Amylin
- read the Reuters report