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Genzyme Founder Says CEO Must Go: Exclusive

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) --The founder of Genzyme (GENZ) says Chairman and CEO Henri Termeer needs to resign his posts if the troubled biotech firm is to right itself.

Sheridan Snyder founded Genzyme in 1981 and ran the company as CEO and chairman until the mid-1980s when Termeer, a drug marketing executive Snyder recruited and hired, took over as the company's top executive.

"A CEO change at Genzyme would be a good idea. Henri has had a good run of 20-plus years but what Genzyme needs now is for someone new to come in with higher energy and a different vision. This would help the company," Snyder told me in a phone interview Wednesday.

Henri Termeer
Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer

Snyder said he felt compelled to make his feelings public after reading my column naming Termeer the Worst Biotech CEO of 2009.

Under Termeer's watch, Genzyme is in the midst of the worst crisis in the company's history. Sloppy manufacturing and quality control problems at the company's suburban Boston facility has led to drug approval delays, a plant shutdown and revenue and earnings shortfalls. The company's stock price is down 27% this year.

Most worrisome to Snyder, he says, is the shortage of Genzyme drugs like Cerezyme that has forced Gaucher disease patients to ration or temporarily stop taking the medicine they need.

"Henri is a very bright guy but he's also the most autocratic manager I have ever seen. He's someone who demands absolute loyalty from everyone, but this has created a tense, sterile environment," says Snyder, who has continued to start up and invest in new biotech and diagnostic companies since leaving Genzyme.

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