Valeant Pharmaceuticals is Soldiering On - Pharmaceutical Executive


Valeant Pharmaceuticals is Soldiering On

Pharmaceutical Executive

Course of Action

Tyson spent his first two years at Valeant working with O'Leary on creating a restructured strategy and management team to lead the company in a new direction. In a nutshell, the plan was to have the current machine fund the future machine, to maintain base business at a rate that afforded bringing new products to market. The strategy had three parts:

Restructure The company would shed unprofitable or mismatched parts of its business to create a clear focus on specialty pharmaceuticals. It would significantly streamline its manufacturing and G&A operations, and divest unprofitable subsidiaries. Worldwide sales force operations would be reworked to reflect the new priorities.

Transform In addition to the most obvious transformation—new faces in senior management and a corporate rebranding effort—ICN would institute several new corporate governance initiatives to increase transparency, establish greater board independence, and change the way the company did business. It would reclaim full ownership of its R&D subsidiary, Ribapharm (part of which had been spun off by Panic before his departure), regaining full rights to Viramidine and underscoring a renewed dedication to discovering new medicines.

Innovate and grow By shifting resources garnered from cost savings in stages one and two of the strategy, the company would turn its eye toward business development, commercializing pipeline products in three disease categories—neurology, infectious disease, and dermatology.

From One Come Many

Tim Tyson
How did ICN plan on accomplishing all this? For starters, by hiring what Tyson calls "a group of seasoned professionals with significant experience and knowledge, and a past record of exceptional performance." He worked his Big Pharma connections—and, for those he hadn't worked with in the past, his eminent leadership qualities—to attract his new team.

The first was CFO Bary Bailey, who until Valeant, had never worked at a pharmaceutical company (he comes from a hospital services and PBM background). It was O'Leary who initially presented the idea to Bailey, but Tyson who Bailey says is the real reason he decided to get acquainted with pharma by way of one of the industry's most corrupt companies.

"The things that you can learn from an individual with Tim's background—that was the driver. I've been able to attract people [to finance] not because of my charismatic character, but because of Tim," Bailey says, with a touch of self-deprecation.

When you first meet him, Bailey looks like a stereotype of an accountant. In glasses and suspenders, he'll sit silent for minutes at a time, giving the impression that he is shy—or perhaps scanning for signs of trustworthiness. But then the defenses come down, he lightens, starts cracking jokes, and unveils a side that makes you wonder how he ever wound up crunching numbers for a living. By the time he gets around to telling you about his four sons, you realize Bailey's a big kid himself, the dad who means it when he cracks up at his kids' jokes, the guy in the boardroom who understands that even in business, sometimes things need to be laughed off.

Wes Wheeler is the guy who fixes things. As president of North America and global commercial development, Wheeler is responsible for Valeant's operations in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, where he also leads business development and marketing.

Wheeler came to Valeant after a stint as CEO of DSM Pharmaceuticals, where he led the organization through a complete business turnaround by creating a new leadership team, launching new business metrics, rebranding the company, fulfilling all regulatory obligations, and significantly increasing new business and profitability. Sound familiar?

He and Tyson worked together for years at Glaxo, where he was senior vice president of logistics and strategy. The two orchestrated the manufacturing merger between Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham.


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