Valeant has begun the search for a new chief executive officer to succeed Michael Pearson who is stepping down, but has promised to continue until his replacement is appointed.
Pearson recently returned to work after an extended illness, taking over from interim chief executive Howard Schiller who was appointed by the board in his absence, but has since stepped down.
Company observers have suggested that the increased scrutiny from Valeant's embroilment in the recent US drug pricing scandal and the firm's ensuing financial difficulties had taken its toll on the former management consultant.
Pearson said: “While I regret the controversies that have adversely impacted our business over the past several months, I know that Valeant is a strong and resilient company, and I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership.”
Alongside Pearson's planned departure from the company Valeant has appointed William Ackman to the board of directors.
The founder and chief executive officer of Pershing Square - which holds a 9% stake in Valeant - Ackman has previously pledged his firm's support for Valeant.
His hedge fund's vice chairman Stephen Fraidin was recently appointed as an independent director and, with Ackman on the board, Pershing Square now occupies two of the 14 seats on Valeant's board.
Ackman commented: “I am looking forward to working with the board to identify new leadership for Valeant. The company's large scale and dominant franchises … coupled with its extraordinarily low valuation present a spectacular opportunity for a world-class healthcare executive.”
He takes the place of Katharine Stevenson, corporate director and sponsor of Valeant's Women's Initiative Network, who voluntarily resigned from the board after Schiller - Valeant's former chief financial officer and interim chairman - refused to give up his seat in the face of the board's request that he do so.