Rumblings about a change at the top of the troubled biotech have been out there for months. And now, for the second time this month, those murmurings are becoming public. The latest comes from Sheridan Snyder, who founded Genzyme in 1981 and ran until he recruited Henri Termeer in the mid-1980s to take over as chief executive. Snyder wants Termeer to go.
"A ceo change at Genzyme would be a good idea. Henri has had a good run of 20-plus years but what Genzyme needs now is for someone new to come in with higher energy and a different vision. This would help the company," Snyder tells The Street. "Henri is a very bright guy but he's also the most autocratic manager I have ever seen. He's someone who demands absolute loyalty from everyone, but this has created a tense, sterile environment."
Earlier this month, Genzyme added an independent director, Bob Bertolini, who was chief financial officer at Schering-Plough before it was acquired by Merck, under pressure from Relational Investors, an activist hedge fund (see here). The biotech also added and shuffled management, according to an SEC filing.
Genzyme has endured nothing but trouble this year as quality control problems forced the biotech to suspend shipments of key products for such ailments as Gaucher’s and Fabry diseases, and the subsequent shortages prompted the FDA to allow rivals to jumpstart plans to produce their own meds to fill the void. Most recently, the FDA inspected Genzyme facilities and found stainless steel fragments, non-latex rubber from vial stoppers and fiber-like material from the manufacturing process (see here).