Beleaguered Valeant Appoints Lead Independent Director

On the heels of its first annual shareholder meeting under the helm of Joe Papa, embattled Valeant (VRX) said Wednesday that Thomas W. Ross Sr. has been appointed as the company's lead independent director. 

The June 15 announcement comes after the Canadian pharmaceutical company on Tuesday elected all 11 director nominees to its board of directors at an annual meeting in Laval, Quebec that appeared to leave shareholders with more questions than greater clarity. 

Of Valeant's 11-person slate of directors, three new independent directors were elected while eight directors were re-elected, including Ross. 

Ross was first appointed as an independent director at Valeant in March, serving as a member of the company's nominating and corporate governance committee. On April 15, Ross took on the added role of Chairman of the company's conduct and compliance committee. 

In addition to his role at Valeant, Ross on July 1 will effectively take on the role of president of The Volcker Alliance, which was created in 2013 with the goal of rebuilding trust in the government and effectively executing public policies. He also currently serves as President Emeritus of the University of North Carolina, is a professor of public law and government at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Government, and is the Sanford Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. 

Re-elected directors besides Ross were Bill Ackman, Dr. Frederic Eshelman, Stephen Fraidin, D. Robert Hale, Robert A. Ingram, Robert N. Power as well as the company's new CEO, Papa.

The newly appointed members are Dr. Argeris (Jerry) N. Parabolas, Russel C. Robertson and Dr. Amy B. Wechsler.

Parabolas is currently a member of four other boards, according to data from relationship mapping service BoardEx, an affiliate of The Deal. The longtime pharma exec is the Chairman of the board and a partner at Care Capital LLC; the independent chairman of Inotek Pharmaceuticals (ITEK) , an independent director at Regenxbio (RGNX) , as well as the Chairman of privately held Polyphor Ltd. 

Robertson, executive VP and division head of anti-money laundering group at BMO Financial Group, also serves on another two boards, BoardEx data shows. The well adept financial and audit expert also is a director at Virtus Investment Partners Inc. and an independent director at Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) .

Additional roles of Wechler, meanwhile, include CEO of her own dermatology practice as well as an adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. 

In addition to the 11-person slate of directors voted upon at the annual meeting, Valeant shareholders also approved the non-binding advisory not on executive compensation, plus appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as its accountant up through its next annual meeting. 

Valeant shares, trading on the New York Stock Exchange, retreated less than 1% to $23.93 in Wednesday morning's trading session. The stock has lost more than 75% of its value so far this year, as the Canadian pharmaceutical company has faced public scrutiny and pressure amid Congressional and SEC investigations into accounting practices tied to its former alliance with mail-order pharmacy Philidor.

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