PAR PHARMACEUTICAL NEW INTERIM CEO IS ATTORNEY KENNETH SAWYER
PAR PHARMACEUTICAL NEW INTERIM CEO IS ATTORNEY KENNETH SAWYER, who joined the firm in August as VP-general counsel after Barbara Manners resigned. Sawyer will be temporarily filling the President and CEO spot until a replacement is found for Perry Levine, who made his retirement official on Sept. 22. Sawyer "has extensive executive experience in the generic drug industry, most recently with a leading privately-owned manufacturer and marketer of generic and consumer pharmaceuticals," Par noted in a Sept. 25 release. Sawyer has worked for Goldline Labs for the last 10 years, most recently as VP-general counsel. He left that position early this summer to practice law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In January, Par disclosed that is was in negotiations with another company for a possible business combination. Goldline was widely believed to be that prospective merger partner ("The Pink Sheet" Feb. 13, "In Brief"). Levine had been planning to put off his retirement until a replacement could be found. The CEO informed the board of those plans in August. His departure schedule, however, was apparently expedited because of health concerns. Par said that Levine "informed the board this past Friday that he had been advised by his personal physician to make his retirement effective as soon as possible." The generic manufacturer has retained an executive search firm, Korn Ferry International, to search for a permanent replacement for Levine. Commenting on his new duties, Sawyer said: "In accepting this position, I look to demonstrate without delay Par's commitment to manufacture and distribute the highest quality generic pharmaceuticals and restore confidence that we will conduct our business in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards." Par noted that Sawyer is involved with the company's internal audit of its manufacturing procedures, ANDA submissions, and product development. According to the company, he will take responsibility for dealing with any possible problems or issues arising from that audit, as well as from the outside audits being conducted by two consulting firms. Upper management at Par has experienced a real shakeout since the generic drug investigation began. Former Senior VP Ashok Patel was the first to resign in April. Following the Sept. 11 hearing of Rep. Dingell's (D-Mich.) House Commerce/Oversight Subcommittee, Senior VP R. K. Patel and Director of Quality Assurance Jay Patel resigned. Serious recordkeeping irregularities were showcased at the hearing. R. K. Patel, Jay Patel, and Ashok Patel all invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves through testimony. Perry Levine was under subpoena to testify but declined to appear, citing poor health. In addition to the resignations, Par Exec VP Jeffrey Levine and VP-Regulatory Affairs Barry Geller are on leave of absences from their duties as directors of the board.
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