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UPJOHN's WILLIAM PARFET RESIGNS AS VICE CHAIRMAN

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

UPJOHN's WILLIAM PARFET RESIGNS AS VICE CHAIRMAN, effective Sept. 30, the company announced Sept. 17. Parfet will remain on the Upjohn board of directors where I believe I can contribute even more as an outside director to the company's future," he said. Parfet, 46, added that he was looking forward to community activities and "exploring additional personal and business opportunities." The resignation leaves Donald Parfet, William Parfet's brother and an exec VP in charge of administration, as the last descendant of company founder William Erastus Upjohn remaining an active officer at Upjohn. Ray Parfet, the father of William and Donald Parfet, also serves on the Upjohn board. The Parfet family retains a controlling interest in the firm. Parfet's resignation as vice chairman comes only a few months after the announced retirement of Vice Chairman Mark Novitch, 61, in December ("The Tan Sheet" Aug. 9, In Brief) and the death of Upjohn Chairman and CEO Theodore Cooper in April. During Cooper's illness, Upjohn shifted top management: former Vice Chairman Ley Smith was named president and chief operating officer, and Parfet, formerly president, became vice chairman ("The Tan Sheet" April 19, p. 14). Smith also was named acting CEO until a permanent successor for Cooper is appointed; the chief executive search is ongoing under the direction of Heidrick & Struggles, which is understood to be considering Smith as a candidate. Both Novitch and Smith became vice chairmen of Upjohn in January 1991, the same time that Parfet acceded to the presidency. In one of his first speeches after becoming president of Upjohn, Parfet emphasized to securities analysts in May 1991 his company's intention not to be acquired or merged with another firm. "We are committed" to "retain our independence," he said, "not to entrench management, not to make Kalamazoo a great place to live, but to give value to shareholders." Parfet joined Upjohn in 1973, working in a variety of executive positions in the finance division until being appointed VP and treasurer in 1984. Parfet was elected to the board of directors in 1985 and became a member of the Office of the Chairman in 1988. Parfet concluded his resignation announcement by stating that he is "enormously excited about the prospects for the Upjohn Company and confident that the plans we have in place will help us meet the short-term challenges we're facing and take full advantage of our very promising long-term opportunities."

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