How the Actavis deal upended Allergan No. 2's CEO ambitions

Tue Feb 3, 2015 1:26pm EST
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By Olivia Oran and Nadia Damouni

NEW YORK Feb 3 (Reuters) - For two decades, Allergan Inc president Doug Ingram labored to transform the Botox-maker from a sleepy eye care upstart to a global aesthetics giant. He was just a few months away from getting the top job when a merger deal with Actavis Plc in November thwarted his ambitions.

Ingram has now accepted an advisory role to facilitate the merger and will soon be looking for a job outside the combined company. Allergan's derailed succession plans, disclosed by Ingram and other top executives in interviews with Reuters, underscore how corporate mergers can leave even some of the industry's top executives in the cold.

To be sure, Ingram has many options. While he is currently focused on helping Allergan and Actavis with their integration, he has already received interest from other healthcare companies as well as private equity firms, he said in an interview, declining to name them.

"(The merger) is bittersweet for me personally. We had a really exciting vision for this company and people were very much behind me," Ingram said.

Ingram will get more than $26 million in cash, stock and benefits as a payout for the merger, a regulatory filing shows. His total compensation in 2013 was $3.6 million.

Ingram focused on running Allergan's core business over the last year while 61-year-old CEO David Pyott, who was preparing for his retirement, served as Allergan's public face and met with investors to defend the company from a hostile bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

Ingram also spearheaded $475 million in cost cuts for calendar 2015. He also helped create the company's European operations and led a landmark free speech lawsuit that challenged U.S. policy on drug promotion.

"He has to be on everybody's dance card if you are looking for a CEO of a substantial, complicated, global company," Pyott said about Ingram. "Here is a person that was very ready to take over."   Continued...