Solomon To Step Aside As Forest Exec; Icahn Wins Another Victory
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
President and CEO of Forest Laboratories Howard Solomon will retire at the end of the year. Activist investor Carl Icahn has long inveighed against the 85 year-old exec. This could signal a renewed effort to get Forest back on track, now that its Lexapro losses have slashed revenue and a Namenda expiry looms.
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Forest’s new CEO laid out the broad parameters of potential change at the company, although specifics await a January investor meeting. In his first earnings call since taking control, Brent Saunders emphasized the near-term priorities of cost-control, recent and upcoming launch execution, and lifecycle management.
Dissident shareholder Carl Icahn will have some influence on the succession process as the New York drugmaker seeks a replacement for its retiring octogenarian CEO. Forest still needs to compensate for the loss of blockbuster antidepressant Lexapro, and could consider a sale or dramatic restructuring.
The launches of Tudorza for COPD and Linzess for irritable bowel syndrome are off to strong starts, Forest executives said during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter sales and earnings call. But despite those and other recent entries, the company reported a net loss for the year after revenues nose-dived from the loss of Lexapro.