Shire disputes employee dissatisfaction report as UBS slashes price target

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Shire last year bought Baxalta for $32 billion.

Shire may have been plenty happy to finally land longtime buyout target Baxalta last year. But since then, its staffers haven’t been quite so pleased.

Parsing 20,000 employee reviews from career website Glassdoor reveals a big slide in employee satisfaction at the company this year, according to a UBS research note seen by Reuters. The Dublin drugmaker now ranks 24th of 26 biopharma companies in the “overall satisfaction” department.

That’s down from 2015 and 2016, when both companies separately ranked just below the middle mark on most staffer satisfaction measures, the news service notes.

“Neither markets nor employees seem as confident as management that things are on track,” UBS said as it cut its 12-month price target to £40.95 per share from £45.

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Speaking of management, its ranks have thinned recently with the departures of R&D chief Phil Vickers and CFO Jeff Poulton, the latter of whom announced his exit last week. And while Poulton insisted in an interview with Barron’s that the move was about wanting a change and nothing more—there’s “no smoking gun here,” he said—Jefferies analyst David Steinberg predicted the move would “exacerbate already negative investor sentiment.”

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Shire, meanwhile, has done its own surveying of employee happiness levels, and as human resources chief Joanne Cordeiro told Reuters, “our internal engagement marks for Shire are high” despite the Baxalta transition.

We are focused on working to ensure we continue to build the best organization for our employees, patients and shareholders,” she said.

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