May 23 Forest Laboratories Inc said
Howard Solomon, its chief executive of more than 35 years, will
retire at the end of this year, capping a tenure that saw the
company morph from a small generic and vitamins maker to a $10
Solomon will continue in the chairman role until the annual
shareholder meeting in 2014, the company said.
Forest Labs, which was in a bitter proxy battle with
activist investor Carl Icahn last year, said it has been
evaluating internal and external candidates for the top job.
The company adopted a shareholder rights plan last August
year after Icahn built up a more than 10 percent stake in the
company and won one of four board seats that he sought at the
Icahn has criticized the company for being ill-prepared to
generate new growth as generic competition curtails revenue from
two of its biggest-selling treatments - Lexapro for depression
and Namenda for Alzheimer's disease.
He also accused the company of hiding information from
shareholders that could show it was trying to deter potential
acquirers and expressed concerns about the company receiving
warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about
unethical practices by its sales representatives.
Icahn was not immediately available for comment when Reuters
tried to contact him on Thursday.
"While Howard Solomon has built an unquestionably successful
company, we believe disclosure of succession plans will be
viewed favorably by investors and expect Forest shares to react
positively to the news," J.P. Morgan analyst Chris Schott said
in a note.
Solomon will stand for re-election to the board of directors
at its 2014 shareholder meeting and become chairman emeritus.
The company's shares rose 2 percent to $38.30 in morning
trade on the New York Stock Exchange. They touched a high of
$38.98 earlier in the session.