Stada bids farewell to ousted chairman in board reshuffle


Stada’s annual meeting--the culmination of a months-long battle with a rebel investor--has come and gone, and both sides are touting a victory.

The German drugmaker saw its chairman, Martin Abend, ousted at Friday’s marathon gathering, which stretched 14 hours, according to Reuters. But Stada managed to retain control of the company, with its supervisory board electing former deputy chair Carl-Ferdinand Oetker to take Abend’s place.

Stada also succeeded in installing four of its own board nominees, while nemesis Active Ownership Capital got only one of its picks--Novartis ($NVS) vet Eric Cornut--elected.

AOC had petitioned to replace 6 of Stada’s 9 supervisory boardmembers, including Oetker. But the way the proxy brawler sees things, it still came up big. As cofounder Klaus Röhrig told the Financial Times, AOC got 90% of what it wanted, and it hailed Abend’s ouster as a “victory for shareholder democracy in Germany.”

Stada and AOC have been at each other’s throats since this spring, with AOC arguing that Stada’s directors were standing in the way of the drugmaker modernizing and becoming more international.

Now, it’ll be up to Oetker and new CEO Matthias Wiedenfels--who recently took the helm when longtime CEO Hartmut Retzlaff departed for health reasons--to address those concerns. And while Wiedenfels Friday acknowleged that the company “had not been transparent enough,” he also said the company’s business model was in “great shape,” as quoted by Reuters.

Meanwhile, other investosr--including U.S.-based Guy Wyser-Pratte--have spoken out in favor of a buyout. Wyser-Pratte recently lobbied for the sale of the company to CVC Capital Partners, a rumored acquirer with whom Stada insists it has not held deal talks.

- read Stada's release
- get more from Reuters
- see the FT's take (sub. req.)

Special Report: Top 20 generics companies by 2014 revenue - Stada Arzneimittel

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