Vertex Pharma boots out COO for 'personal behavior' violations

(Reuters) - Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Wednesday it had terminated the employment of its chief operating officer and interim chief financial officer, Ian Smith, citing “personal behavior” that violated its code of conduct.

The termination is effective immediately and is unrelated to the company’s financial and business performance, Vertex said.

Paul Silva, the company’s corporate controller and chief accounting officer since 2008, has been appointed interim CFO, while the company conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

“At Vertex, we are deeply committed to our culture of diversity, inclusion and respect, and we insist that all of our employees, regardless of their seniority, live our values and adhere to our Code of Conduct,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Leiden said in a statement.

The decision followed an investigation conducted with the help of an independent external counsel WilmerHale, the Boston-based biotech company said.

Vertex did not specify what the violations were.

Shares of the company, valued at about $50 billion, were largely unchanged in extended trading after closing down 2.06 percent at $189.89.

Reporting by Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila