Medicis shares drop on death at CEO's house

When do a CEO's personal problems become worrisome to investors? Well, it depends on the problem. In the case of Medicis Pharmaceutical chief Jonah Shacknai, the answer is, "Almost immediately." Two days after his 6-year-old son suffered critical injuries from a fall down a staircase at his Coronado, CA, house, Shacknai's live-in girlfriend was found bound, nude, and hanging from a balcony there. Within hours of the news, the company's stock plummeted.

Word is that Shacknai and his ex-wife were at the hospital with their injured son when the woman was found. Shacknai's brother Adam, who was staying in a guesthouse on the property, cut the woman down and called police, the Los Angeles Times reports. After initial evidence-gathering, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and Coronado Police were saying they didn't know whether the death was murder or suicide. They have found no link between the boy's fall and the woman's death.

"We have not determined if this is criminal or if this is a death investigation," Capt. Tim Curran of the sheriff's department told the Wall Street Journal. "Whether it is a homicide or a suicide, it is one of the most bizarre and unusual cases we have ever seen."

Piper Jaffray analyst David Amsellem called the stock drop "just a little panic selling," Bloomberg reports. "There's no question that Jonah is very much the face of the company and very much a part of the overall vision and strategy," Ansellem said, but added that the company's day-to-day operations aren't likely to be affected by the Shacknai tragedies. Medicis has "very good bench strength," he said.

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- read the LA Times article
- check out the Reuters news

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