Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. announced Wednesday that the company has appointed Howard B. Schiller as interim CEO to serve the company while J. Michael Pearson remains hospitalized with severe pneumonia. The company said in a statement that Pearson would remain on a medical leave of absence “until further notice.”
Schiller, who was formerly the chief financial officer for Valeant and has served on the company’s board for three years, will replace a three-person executive committee that had filled Pearson’s role after he fell ill on Dec. 24. Prior to joining Valeant, Schiller was an investment banker for Goldman Sachs for 24 years. In the later years of his tenure, he led the firm’s investments into healthcare and consumer products.
The company also announced that Robert Ingram will become interim chairman of the board, since Pearson also served as chairman. Ingram was chairman of Valeant from December 2010 to March 2011 and has lately been the company’s lead independent director. He remains a partner at Hatteras Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focused on life sciences.
Valeant came under fire recently for its ties to a specialty pharmacy called Philidor Rx Services LLC that allegedly pressured insurers to pay for the company’s ophthalmology and dermatology drugs. Valeant quickly severed ties with Philidor, dropped its earnings expectations for the year and announced a fresh partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. The new distribution agreement is set to kick off this month, with or without Pearson.