Laval, Quebec – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX) announced on Monday that it has initiated a search for a new chief executive officer to succeed J. Michael Pearson. The drugmaker also announced it is adding William A. Ackman to its board of directors.

Robert Ingram, chairman of the board said in a statement that the company, which had been going through difficult times the past few months, will try to rebuild its reputation by adding a new leader.

From his 42nd-floor office in New York, William Ackman manages more than $18 billion. Each of his four funds holds the same nine equities, plus two short positions. Photograph: Peter Yang/Bloomberg Markets

Since last summer, the company has been facing allegations of improper accounting, and that it used predatory price hikes to boost growth. Since then, Valeant has had a collection of leading brands, franchises and people.

“It’s been a privilege to lead Valeant for the past eight years. While I regret the controversies that have adversely impacted our business over the past several months, I know that Valeant is a strong and resilient company, and I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership.” Pearson stated.

J. Michael Pearson, the outgoing chief executive will stay on as chief executive until a replacement is named.

Activist investor William A. Ackman to join the board

Valeant also announced on Monday that William A. Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, will join its board of directors. Mr. Ackman, whose firm has a 9.0% stake in Valeant, will join Pershing Square’s Vice Chairman, Stephen Fraidin, on the board.

As the maximum size of Valeant’s board currently is fixed at 14 directors, Katharine B. Stevenson voluntarily resigned from the Board to create a vacancy to permit Mr. Ackman’s appointment. The Board requested that former chief financial officer Howard Schiller tender his resignation as a director, but Mr. Schiller has not done so.

Robert Ingram, chairman of the board said the company is looking forward to Bill Ackman’s perspective and contributions as a new member of our board. The Board thanked Stevenson for her service and for voluntarily stepping down in order to allow Bill Ackman to join the Board.

Ackman also said he is looking forward to working with the board to identify new leadership for Valeant.

Source: Wall Street Journal