Actelion recruits Garnier in battle for board control

THE fight for control of Swiss biotech company Actelion continued yesterday with a counterattack by the company against its activist investors.

Actelion said it would add two pharmaceutical heavyweights, Jean-Pierre Garnier and Robert Bertolini, to its board with Garnier becoming chairman in 2012.

Elliott, which holds six per cent of Actelion, has accused the board of failing to consider shareholders’ interests and proposed six new directors to join, while demanding that chief executive Jean-Paul Clozel and chairman Robert Cawthorn step down.

But Actelion’s choices are respected industry experts calculated to help regain shareholders’ support.

“Their combined experience...will contribute significantly towards our objective of delivering a strategy that maximises value creation for our shareholders,” Cawthorn said.

Elliott responded with a message, ostensibly from its proposed board, saying the proposals fell short of real reform. “The balance of power in the board needs to be fundamentally changed,” it said.