Tags: US | Genzyme | Proxy | Fight

Icahn Seeks Four Seats on Genzyme Board in Proxy Challenge

Monday, 22 Feb 2010 09:40 AM

Genzyme Corp. said Monday that activist investor Carl Icahn intends to nominate himself along with three other people to the biotechnology company's board of directors.

Genzyme said it will evaluate Icahn's nominees, which include Dr. Steven Burakoff, Dr. Alexander J. Denner and Dr. Richard Mulligan. Both Mulligan and Denner won spots on Biogen Idec Inc.'s board last year following an Icahn proxy fight.

Icahn has initiated several proxy contests with biotech companies over the past few years.

He brokered the sale of ImClone Systems Inc. to Eli Lilly for more than $6 billion after he took control of that board. In 2009 he started proxy fights with Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Biogen.

All of Genzyme's directors are up for election at the annual meeting May 20.

"Our actions demonstrate that we are open and responsive to shareholder input, and we welcome a constructive dialogue with Mr. Icahn," said Genzyme Chairman and CEO Henri A. Termeer in a statement.

In January, Genzyme strengthened the authority of its lead independent director and named new members to the board's audit committee. That move followed Icahn's increased investment in the company.

Under the changes made in January, the company gave the lead independent director an expanded role in determining the direction of the discussions that take place at the board level, including approval of full board meeting agendas and materials.

It also named Robert Carpenter, president of the privately held investment company Boston Medical Investors Inc., as lead director. Robert Bertolini, the former executive vice president and chief financial officer at Schering-Plough Corp., was named chair of the audit committee.

Genzyme is still trying to recover from a series of manufacturing problems.

Last June, it shut down its manufacturing plant in Boston to clean up viral contamination that had been slowing down production of two drugs. The shutdown cost the company millions in revenue. Production restarted in September.

Then in November, the Food and Drug Administration said it found tiny particles of trash in drugs made by Genzyme, including steel, rubber and fiber.

Since January, the company made several changes to its manufacturing operations, naming a new president of global manufacturing and corporate operations, along with a senior vice president of global product quality.

It also contracted manufacturing for some of its key products to Hospira Inc.

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Genzyme Corp. said Monday that activist investor Carl Icahn intends to nominate himself along with three other people to the biotechnology company's board of directors.Genzyme said it will evaluate Icahn's nominees, which include Dr. Steven Burakoff, Dr. Alexander J. Denner...
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2010-40-22
Monday, 22 Feb 2010 09:40 AM
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