Valeant CEO Michael Pearson goes on medical leave after pneumonia bout

The CEO of Canada's largest drug company has temporarily stepped down to go on medical leave after he was hospitalized with pneumonia.
J. Michael Pearson, Valeant CEO, has gone on medical leave from the drug company. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO J. Michael Pearson is taking a medical leave of absence after he was hospitalized with pneumonia.

Valeant says three executives will take over for Pearson:

  • Robert Chai-Onn, general counsel.
  • Ari Kellen, company group chairman.
  • Robert Rosiello, chief financial officer.

Shares of the troubled Montreal-based pharmaceutical company fell 10 per cent in in New York on Monday in reaction to the news about Pearson's medical leave. No timeline was given for his return.

"Out of respect, we will be honouring his family's request for privacy and will not be commenting further on his condition at this time," the company said in a release.

Pearson's leave comes two weeks after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. slashed its fourth-quarter financial predictions and issued a profit outlook for 2016 that was short of Wall Street's estimate.

The company's sales have been hurt after ending a distribution arrangement with mail-order pharmacy Philidor, following scrutiny from Congress and the media over drug pricing.

Valeant was briefly the most valuable company in Canada during the spring of 2015 before the series of negative stories knocked the company's value from almost $350 per share to under $100.

With files from The Associated Press


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