Ugly Fight at Obesity Drug Company Leads to New CEO

by Christopher Freeburn | July 19, 2013 10:15 am

Vivus NASDAQ:VVUS[1]Pharmaceutical maker Vivus (VVUS[2]) will shake up its management team to settle a proxy fight with its largest shareholder[3].

The company was sued this week by First Manhattan, which holds 9.9% of its stock, after Vivus halted voting for new board members by abruptly adjourning its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday. Under the settlement agreement, former AstraZeneca (AZN[4]) executive Anthony Zook is expected to replace Leland Wilson as Vivus’ CEO. Wilson will remain with the company as an advisor during the transition, the Associated Press notes.

Vivus will also add two new member to its board, increasing its number of board members to 11. With four current members of the board resigning, First Manhattan will place six new members on the board. The company is expected to hold another shareholder meeting within a month.

The dispute between Vivus and First Manhattan began in March after First Manhattan called the launch of its anti-drug Qsymia a failure and demanded the replacement of the company’s entire board. Earlier this week, Vivus delayed its shareholder meeting by three days over claims that First Manhattan had made false statements to shareholders[5].

Shares of Vivus fell more than 2% in Friday morning trading.

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  2. VVUS:
  3. settle a proxy fight with its largest shareholder:
  4. AZN:
  5. over claims that First Manhattan had made false statements to shareholders:

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