Not Lost in Translation: Elan’s CEO Succession

Elan’s Chairman has sent out an announcement regarding a change in the planned transition from  Kelly Martin’s stewardship as CEO. As a public service, we are providing a translation. Each section of the PR is followed by translation in boldface:

<<On June 3, 2010, Elan communicated that, as part of its prudent executive succession management process, Kelly Martin, CEO, and the Board of Directors agreed that by May 1, 2012, Kelly would have successfully completed his commitment and overall duty as CEO to the company that he had served since January 2003.

Enough is enough.

At the time, the date was agreed to enable the Board and Kelly to achieve three important objectives:
·        Complete a number of critical business and financial initiatives

Sell  enough of the company to pay off the crushing debt load that he had built up over time= Selling EDT to Alkermes.

·        Continue to advance Elan’s science and strategic positioning in the neuroscience field and in the biotechnology sector overall

Pray that Biogen-Idec can continue to grow Tysabri sales in spite of the inevitable increase in PML cases, and that their jcv test works. They did, and it does. Sign one very low-cost CNS research deal with Proteostasis. Pray for bapineuzumab.

·        Allow the Board to thoughtfully and rigorously identify and select the next generation leader with the best qualifications to take this repositioned and unique company forward in the coming decade.

We were looking to upgrade our iCEO to one with a faster processor and better resolution.

Since the announcement, the Board has been dedicated to completing a succession process that would reflect the direction and future potential of the company and, at the same time, meet the May 2012 date that had been communicated.

We should never have locked ourselves into a deadline.

During the past eight months, the Board has had several in-depth discussions with a number of exceptionally high caliber candidates regarding the Elan CEO role. The substantial interest in the position, the company, the therapeutic area, and the science is a testament to the work and accomplishments of Kelly and his team during the past decade.

Almost $2.9 million plus stock options. Of course there was interest. You’d think somebody would have taken the job.

However, the implications of the upcoming completion of the Bapineuzumab Phase III pivotal trials, which operationally are run by Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer, is potentially of transformational significance for Elan. Not only did our scientists discover the approach and shepherd the clinical progression on the programs, but we retain an approximately 25% economic interest in the full portfolio of the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program (AIP).

But no. You’d think we had tried to turn the helm of the Titanic over to someone who’d already seen the movie. Or asked them to play cornerback for the Patriots against Eli Manning in the 4th quarter. Or provide sensitivity training to Newt Gingrich.

After much thought and consideration, the full Board and I believe that Elan and our shareholders will be best served by having Kelly continue his leadership through this critical period and strategic inflection point in the company’s progression.

Since we are not legally permitted to list ‘TBA’ as our CEO, we have to go to Plan C. 

To that end and after a number of discussions between me and the full Board of Directors, I have requested that Kelly extend his tenure as the Elan CEO until the Bapineuzumab data has
been shared publicly, evaluated and assessed. This continuity will create an opportunity to achieve further clarity for Elan’s strategic and financial path forward. Kelly has agreed to this request and the extension.

We’re waiting for the heaviest shoe in the history of pharma to drop.

During this time, we will maintain a dialogue with the exceptional succession candidates who remain interested in the position and who support this decision.


We thank Kelly for his unwavering commitment to Elan and applaud his dedication and passion for our employees, shareholders and patients.

$2.9 million.>>

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