The Carl Icahn protege Alex Denner of Sarissa Capital has forced out Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA) CEO and founder, Harvey Berger. Harvey is retiring by December and Denner is ceasing his proxy battle, but will also head up the search committee to find a replacement CEO.
Denner’s Sarissa became an activist at Ariad in February and got a board seat less than a month later. So the writing was on the wall. Denner claimed that having the founder as CEO was a huge distraction, to the point that safety issues have led to a plunge in its stock price. Harvey was at the company for 24-years.