Few Allergan execs to keep top jobs in Actavis takeover

Irish giant Actavis expects to finalize its Allergan buyout in 2015, ending local ownership of the Irvine firm

The soon-to-be owner of Irvine-based Allergan Inc. announced sweeping leadership changes that pass over many current executives including the Botox maker's CEO.

Irish pharmaceutical giant Actavis expects to finalize its $66-billion acquisition in the second quarter of 2015, ending decades of local ownership at the Irvine firm.

On Tuesday, Actavis said its current chief executive, Brent Saunders, would keep the top post at the combined company.

In a statement, Saunders said Allergan President Douglas Ingram would become his special advisor. No other Allergan executive committee members were given senior leadership roles.

Actavis spokesman David Belian declined to say whether those individuals passed over for top jobs would stay with the Irish firm after the acquisition.

An Allergan spokesperson did not return an email seeking comment.

Saunders said the announced changes came after "extensive discussions" with Allergan CEO David Pyott. It's possible Pyott will join the new company's board, Belian said. The planned leadership changes would take effect after the acquisition closes next year.

Several current Allergan employees will take top posts at the new company. In addition to Ingram, they include Paul Navarre, an Allergan corporate vice president and president of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He will become president of international brands and executive vice president with Actavis.

"In this structure we demonstrate our commitment to combine the 'best of the best' talent from both organizations," Saunders said.

Allergan shares on Tuesday fell $3.26, or 1.6%, to 205.75.

Last month, Dublin-based Actavis, which has U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, offered $66 billion that was quickly accepted by the Allergan board. Shareholders are expected to vote on the deal early next year.

The acquisition ended the Irvine firm's bruising takeover fight against Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and its partner, activist investor Bill Ackman. Valeant had fought for months to acquire Allergan, vowing to lay off thousands and slash research and development spending.

Allergan employees welcomed the Actavis deal because it probably means fewer cuts than if Valeant had come out on top.

On Tuesday, Actavis said that it "intends to maintain a strong commitment to R&D activities at Allergan's Irvine ... location and continued investment in [Allergan's] development portfolio."

Actavis CEO Saunders, however, has told the Wall Street Journal that he wants to cut levels of bureaucracy and jobs after the companies combine.


Twitter: @khouriandrew

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