Rough Year at KV Pharmaceutical Continues as Chairman, CFO Quit
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There’s no shortage of drama at KV Pharmaceutical. Last week Chairman Terry Hatfield, Stephen Stamp, who was named CFO April 13, and board member John Sampson quit, citing “serious concerns” about newly elected board members and senior management.
The previous week, immediately following the company’s annual meeting, the newly elected board ousted interim President and CEO David Van Vilet, who had been in charge since December 2008.
The St. Louis-based company has not named a new CFO.
It also said it is looking for a CEO with extensive pharmaceutical experience. For now, Gregory Divis will be interim president and CEO, while continuing as president of Ther-Rx, the company’s branded pharmaceutical subsidiary.
In their resignation letters, Hatfield and Sampson said they had “serious concerns regarding the ability of the newly constituted board and senior management to provide the required independent oversight of KV’s business during this critical time in the company’s history.”
They noted that only three of the board’s seven nominees for board seats were elected at the annual meeting. The remaining elected members were candidates proposed by shareholders. Among those re-elected to the board was Marc Hermelin, son of the founder, who was ousted as CEO in 2008. Also re-elected was David Hermelin, the son of Marc Hermelin, and a former director of corporate strategy who retained his seat. David Hermelin was among the board’s nominees, Marc was not.
The year has been tumultuous. In February, KV agreed to a $25.8 million settlement with the United States Justice Department. Officials with the company’s subsidiary, Ethex Corp. pleaded guilty to two felony counts of criminal fraud for failing to report it was manufacturing oversized tablets that could be harmful to patients, (some had double the advertised dosage of medicine). In March the company fired 289 employees, or 42 percent of its staff, to lower operating costs.
However, the company’s board still found the cash to pay themselves a hefty raise. According to a recent SEC filing, the board was paid $116,000 in 2009, a $60,000 raise while the company was involved in massive layoffs.
Earlier this month KV closed the sale of the assets of Particle Dynamics for $24.6 million, plus up to an additional $5.5 million in potential earn-out payments over the next four years.
In a prepared statement the company said the board’s primary focus is two-fold: to continue to work with the Food and Drug Administration to reinstate KV to Good Manufacturing Practice compliance, and to continue to explore a variety of financial alternatives as a means to strengthen the company’s cash position.
The company could not be reached for comment.