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PRAXIS RE-APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN DAVID SMITH AS CEO

Executive Summary

PRAXIS RE-APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN DAVID SMITH AS CEO follows the March 26 resignation of the five outside directors of the vaccine R&D firm. "A newly constituted board of directors . . . appointed Praxis Chairman Dr. David Smith to the additional position of chief executive officer, a post he had held previously until Dec. 31, 1987," Smith stated in a March 29 press release. The announcement signals the end of a month-long struggle between Praxis founder Smith, who has an approximate 48% equity position, and company management. Praxis had been searching for a CEO after Smith stepped down at the end of 1987. Exec VP Franklin Top, MD, who joined the company from Walter Reed Army Institute in October, was acting chief exec. The reorganized Praxis board, now reduced to four members, includes: Smith; Richard Insel, MD, a co-founder and minority stockholder; attorney Ralph Lilore; and Max Kloster, VP and general manager of the company's Sanford, North Carolina manufacturing facility. Insel, a professor of pediatrics and microbiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was one of several individual shareholders who reportedly supported Smith during the management upheaval. The five outside directors stepping down were: John Garrity, a professor at Yale and Georgetown universities; Frank Hutchins, chairman of the Young & Rubicam advertising firm; Stuart Meisenzahl, an attorney from Rochester, New York, where the company is based; and patent counsel S. Leslie Misrock. "I am very pleased that we have resolved the recent management turmoil at Praxis," Smith remarked. "As CEO, I plan to redirect Praxis to a stronger product development orientation and continue to build on our company's scientific strengths." Bristol-Myers controls about 12% of Praxis, but has no representation on the company's board.

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