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Longtime Forest Labs CEO plans to retire
May 23rd, 2013
NEW YORK – Howard Solomon is slated to retire as president and chief executive officer of Forest Laboratories Inc. at the end of this year.
Forest Labs said Thursday that Solomon will step down as president and CEO on Dec. 31. He is expected to remain as chairman through the 2014 annual general meeting, at which time another chairman will be elected.
Solomon will retain the title of chairman emeritus after the 2014 annual meeting and has agreed to serve as senior adviser to the company after his retirement.
An independent committee of Forest's board has been engaged in a succession planning process, including evaluating internal and external candidates. The board expects to name a successor before the end of the year.
"I recognize that the time has come for me to retire from the full time responsibility of running Forest Laboratories. I will be 86 this August, and I think the company is entitled to the rigorous assurances of continuity that a younger chief executive can provide," Solomon said in a statement. "I have agreed to serve Forest as an adviser and, if elected, as a director for the next several years. Above all, I do deeply love Forest and so many of its executives and employees with whom I have worked for so many years. It is thanks to the support and tireless effort of our extraordinarily talented employees, past and present, that we have been able to build a dynamic company with a diversified product portfolio and late-stage pipeline that is truly unrivaled in the industry. We have many opportunities ahead.
"In the coming months, I look forward to working with the board and new CEO, when identified, on a seamless handover of my responsibilities and to continuing my service to Forest as a board member and senior adviser," he added.
Solomon began his career as an attorney at leading law firms in New York and joined Forest in 1964 as a director and secretary of the board while serving as outside counsel for the company. He became CEO of Forest in 1977, chairman in 1998 and president in 2010.
"On behalf of the board and the entire company, we would like to express our appreciation for Howard's dedication, strategic vision and immeasurable contributions to Forest and its shareholders for nearly 50 years, 36 of those years as CEO," stated Kenneth Goodman, presiding independent director of Forest's board. "Under Howard’s leadership, Forest has evolved from a small-scale producer of vitamin pills into an innovative and fully integrated pharmaceutical company with a market capitalization of over $10 billion and a proud history of innovation, strong execution and delivering value for shareholders.
"Today, with the launches of a new generation of products, all advanced under Howard's stewardship, Forest is positioned to build on this success," Goodman added. "We are delighted that Howard is available to continue to serve Forest as chairman through to the 2014 annual meeting and as a director and senior adviser to the company following his retirement as CEO and president."