Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) appointed Howard Schiller its interim chief executive, effective immediately.
Schiller has stepped in for Michael Pearson, who remains hospitalized with a severe bout of pneumonia, Valeant said on Wednesday.
Schiller was previously Valeant‘s CFO from December 2011 to June 2015 and he currently serves on the company’s board.
Pearson’s hospitalization, disclosed on Dec. 25, is the latest challenge for the Canadian drugmaker whose shares have fallen nearly 60% since late August in the face of questions from Congress, investors, and customers about how it prices and sells drugs.
Pearson, who joined Valeant as CEO in 2010 after a 23-year career at consultancy McKinsey & Co, has made rapid-fire acquisitions that greatly increased Valeant‘s size and share price. Under his leadership last month, the company boosted credibility with wary investors by reaching a deal to distribute its drugs through leading pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (WAG).
“You have a company whose stock started to move once Pearson joined, and he has really been associated with the growth of Valeant,” said Irina Koffler, an analyst at Mizuho Securities USA.