This is one for the gossips. Marc Hermelin, the KV Pharmaceuticals ceo, is leaving under what could be politely called disputed circumstances. The drugmaker says he was fired, but Hermelin issued his own statement that he informed the board earlier this week that he is simply retiring, according to reports.
In a statement Friday morning, Hermelin maintains he notified KV Pharma on Monday that he was leaving and had retained the recruitment firm Bench International on November 24 to find a successor. A family spokesman says Hermelin, who will apparently remain on the KV board, ceased to be an employee Monday, reports say.
Today, however, KV issued its own statement that Hermelin, 66, was terminated immediately for cause. David Van Vliet, who heads KV's Ethex division, will become interim ceo (look here).
The confusion follows several problems for the drugmaker. In November, KV delayed filing its fiscal second-quarter report because its audit committee was probing allegations of misconduct by management. The drugmaker reported preliminary results a week later, but indicated they could be changed depending on results of the inquiry. KV also withdrew its fiscal 2009 outlook. Keep reading about more KV problems...
In July, government agencies said KV was manufacturing unapproved drugs and seized more than $24 million in products after the FDA told KV to stop making them. Inspectors also found the drugmaker was making and distributing time-release drugs for colds, coughs and gastrointestinal conditions without FDA approval (back story).
In June, Hermelin agreed to cancel about $824,000 in stock option grants from KV as part of a settlement of an earlier lawsuit that two shareholders filed against him and 16 other current and former KV officials.
Neither the company nor Hermelin's family spokesman said if the departure was related to any of those issues. Hermelin's family spokesman added that Hermelin had been planning to retire since he turned 65 in January 2007 and decided this was the right time to do so, according to reports.