Canadian Manufacturing

Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO stepping down

Once one of Canada's most valuable companies, Valeant is now on the defensive

LAVAL, Que.—Embattled drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals is looking for a new CEO and has added activist investor William Ackman to its board of directors.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. says current CEO J. Michael Pearson will stay until his replacement has been appointed. Pearson just returned from a two-month medical leave.

The Canadian company says Ackman is joining its board immediately. His Pershing Square Capital Management holds a 9 per cent stake in the drug company and already has another executive, Stephen Fraidin, on Valeant’s board.

Valeant shares fell below $26 shortly before markets opened March 21. The stock has plunged since reaching an all-time high price of $263.81 high last August.

Once one of Canada’s most valuable companies, its shares lost more than $15 billion of their value on March 15 after reporting disappointing earnings, lowering its outlook for 2016 and raising fears about defaulting on its debt.

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