Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer has never made a secret of the high regard he holds for himself. So when the Wall Street Journal noted Termeer's publicly obliging openness to Carl Icahn's notice yesterday that he was nominating four people to Genzyme's board, the business newspaper of record was careful to note that Termeer has often said he was the best person to helm the company.
The 25-year Genzyme veteran is credited with taking a fledgling biotech and putting it in the industry's top tier. But last year's manufacturing woes made Genzyme vulnerable to a coup attempt by Icahn, who has nominated himself and three others to the Genzyme board after boosting his stake in the company to 4.8 million shares late last year. And as New York Times biotech scribe Andrew Pollack noted in his take on the board move, CEOs don't often stay in place after the aggressive Wall Street raider gains a seat at the table.
But behind yesterday's polite façade, Termeer's closest associates expect the CEO is girding for battle.
"Anybody expecting him to fold and walk out the door, that's not going to happen," Sheridan Snyder, who founded Genzyme, tells the Times. "I'm sure Henri will fight," agrees Constantine E. Anagnostopoulos, who served on the board for 20 years.