Valeant CEO Pearson to return effective immediately, results delayed

Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:10pm EST
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By Caroline Humer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO: Quote) said on Sunday that Chief Executive Officer Michael Pearson would return from medical leave effective immediately, and it postponed the release of fourth-quarter results planned for Monday.

Valeant was under pressure for its drug price increases when it said in late December that Pearson had been hospitalized for severe pneumonia. Weeks later, the company appointed board member and former Chief Financial Officer Howard Schiller as interim CEO, saying Pearson remained unwell.

Investors have been divided on Pearson's return, and shares fell last week, reflecting concern about the company's future.

On Feb. 22, Valeant said it would delay filing its audited 2015 annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and planned to restate some revenues and earnings from 2014 and 2015 as a result of the preliminary results of that review. It set Feb. 29 as a date to announce unaudited fourth-quarter earnings.

On Friday, CNBC reported that Valeant's board of directors was mulling whether Pearson would return.

The company said that because of Pearson's return, it would delay the Monday release of financials and its conference call.

Valeant also withdrew its prior financial outlook and said it would release preliminary 2015 results and a 2016 outlook "in the near term."

"I realize that recent events are disappointing to everyone and it is my responsibility to set the appropriate tone for the organization," Pearson said in the statement. He said among his immediate priorities would be "improving Valeant's reporting procedures, internal controls and transparency."   Continued...

Michael Pearson, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, speaks during their annual general meeting in Laval, Quebec May 19, 2015.   REUTERS/Christinne Muschi