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Dolan Out at Bristol-Myers

Bristol-Myers added that its outside counsel, which is investigating the Plavix negotiations, "also confirmed that there is no evidence from which to conclude that the company or any of its employees acted unlawfully."

The company said Lacey's review was separate from a criminal investigation that the Justice Department' antitrust division launched into the Apotex arrangement. Lacey might make additional recommendations regarding "governance matters" when he issues his final report on the probe, Bristol-Myers said.

Because of the problems Bristol-Myers has had to deal with, its dividend has at times been thought to be in jeopardy, but for now at least it appears to be safe. Bristol-Myers declared a quarterly dividend of 28 cents a share and said it expects to pay the same rate in 2007, subject to the normal quarterly review by the board.

At the same time, the projected payout also assumes a favorable outcome to the Plavix litigation and an absence of sustained competition for the blood thinner next year.

Dolan, 50, is the third Big Pharma CEO in 17 months to leave his post earlier than had been planned.

Raymond Gilmartin left Merck (MRK) in May 2005, about 10 months ahead of his planned departure at the mandatory retirement age of 65. Gilmartin was replaced by long-time Merck executive Richard Clark .

Gilmartin paid the price for his company's sinking stock price and the mushrooming lawsuits stemming from Vioxx, the arthritis drug that Merck removed from the market in September 2004 for safety concerns.
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