SEARLE EX-PRESIDENT JOHN ROBSON IS TOP CANDIDATE
SEARLE EX-PRESIDENT JOHN ROBSON IS TOP CANDIDATE for the number two position at the Treasury Department. Reportedly recommended by Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady to be deputy secretary, Robson has the potent government-industry background for the position. Of particular import to the health care industries, Robinson will have an insider's knowledge of, and perhaps sympathy for, the Sec. 936 Puerto Rico/Carribean tax program. Sec. 936 is a perennial target for Treasury tax planners as a way to raise tax revenues without imposing a new consumer tax. Searle was an early and aggressive user of the 936 tax breaks and ended up in a tax dispute with Treasury in court in the early 1980's. As a senior Searle exec from 1977 to 1986, Robson was exposed to 936 issues and to one concerted effort in Congress to reduce the tax savings in 1982. Robson's return to government would follow an absence of more than a decade from Washington. During the Johnson Administration, Robson worked for the Bureau of the Budget and the Department of Transportation. He later served as chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board in the Ford Administration. In 1977, Robson followed former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to Searle as an executive vice president. Robson subsequently was named Searle's chief operating officer in 1983 and succeeded Rumsfeld as president and chief executive officer in 1985. During his tenure, Robson oversaw the integration of Searle with Monsanto, which involved the divestiture of its OTC health care businesses and a refocusing on pharmaceutical research and development. Robson left Searle in January 1986 and is presently dean of the Emory University School of Business in Atlanta, Georgia. His additional positions include director of the biotechnology firm Chiron and trustee of the Food and Drug Law Institute in Washington, D.C. In addition to Robson, another high Treasury appointment may also have significance to Sec. 936. Nominated to be assistant secretary for policy development is Hollis McLoughlin, now a Treasury Department consultant. McLoughlin, a former Capitol Hill staffer with Rep. Fenwick (R-N.J.), is the son of a retired senior executive at Richardson-Vicks. That company has also made use of the Sec. 936 incentives.
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