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This Is What Bill Ackman Really Thinks About Valeant’s Outgoing CEO

Michael Pearson (left) and Bill AckmanMichael Pearson (left) and Bill Ackman
Michael Pearson (left) and Bill AckmanPhotograph by Scott Eells — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Activist investor Bill Ackman, one of Valeant Pharmaceutical’s major investors, wasn’t very happy with Michael Pearson, it turns out.

A cache of emails released, part of an 818-page document dump provided to a U.S. Senate committee, provided clear insight into Ackman’s opinion on the former Valeant CEO, reported the New York Post. Ackman attacked Pearson on a myriad of issues, including how he spoke on conference calls:

“My only comment on the call is that you sounded a little defensive on the price increase question,” Ackman emailed Pearson. “If you want I would be happy to share thoughts on how you could have answered that a little differently.”

Or his delay in sending out press releases to defend the company:

“Every minute that you wait before sending out a press release, another shareholder capitulates on Valeant and does not come back,” Ackman wrote Pearson in late October.


Valeant (VRX) has been under attack since late last year, first for its pricing and drug distribution model then for its murky relationship with specialty pharmacy Philidor. It’s also had to restate financial earnings, and faced a government subpoena and special board committee investigation. Valeant’s shares have dropped more than 90% since their Aug. 5 peak.

Ackman’s Pershing Square has taken a hit since Valeant’s stock has dropped, losing billions of dollars. The fund owns about 9% of the company and is its second-largest shareholder. Ackman has continually defended the company and Pearson until very recently, only admitting in early March that if the company’s situation didn’t stabilize that it may be time to bring in new management.