Savient appoints new CEO, cuts work force by 35%

Monday, July 9, 2012 02:37 PM

Savient Pharmaceuticals, a specialty biopharmaceutical company based in East Brunswick, N.J., has appointed Louis Ferrari, current executive vice president and president North American commercial operations, to the role of president and CEO.

Ferrari has over 30 years of experience in the the pharmaceutical industry, including expertise in product launches, new product development, international marketing, sales management, sales training, licensing and acquisitions and clinical trials. Prior to joining Savient in 2011, he had a long career of increasing responsibility at Johnson & Johnson, where he most recently served as vice president of oncology and nephrology, sales and marketing. Ferrari also served on the management board for both Ortho Biotech and Centocor Ortho Biotech from 2004 to 2011.

Savient also announced a reorganization plan to better align its operations and budget which includes organizational changes designed to improve its operational efficiencies while ensuring continued focus on the commercialization of Krystexxa and the advancement of its clinical expansion programs. As part of the initiative, the company expects to eliminate approximately 35% of its work force across the company, including current vacancies, which will be effective as of September 10, 2012. In particular, Savient noted that its field force will be restructured to consist of 35 key account managers and three regional business directors. Savient does not expect that service levels to patients, doctors or other customers will be impacted by this reduction.

"Savient takes great pride in its strong and committed employee base. On behalf of the entire board and management team, we sincerely regret having to make the difficult decision to reduce our workforce and want to thank the affected employees for their contributions," said Stephen O. Jaeger, chairman of the Savient board of directors. "However, given the current environment, these actions are necessary to align Savient's costs with the market to best position the company going forward."

The initiatives presented as part of the plan are expected to generate approximately $56 million in annual operating expense savings by 2013 as compared to Savient's actual annualized first quarter 2012 operating expenses, with approximately $6.5 million of these operating expense savings to be realized in 2012. Additionally, Savient expects to recognize approximately $4.7 million in restructuring and employee severance charges associated with these initiatives, including $3.6 million during 2012. Savings from these actions will support the company's future growth strategies. As a result of the implementation of the company's reorganization plan, Savient will be examining its inventory obsolescence and purchase commitment liabilities and will report on any potential adjustment charges as part of its second quarter 2012 financial report.

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