Lundbeck CEO booted for ethics breach after a biotech's 'gift' comes to light

Ulf Wiinberg

Last year Lundbeck CEO Ulf Wiinberg got a "gift" of some shares in a London-based biotech services outfit called Stratified Medical. And after the gift arrived, Lundbeck invested 19 million Danish krone--a little more than $3 million--into the company.

Today, Lundbeck says its CEO opted for a quick and immediate exit after the gift came to light. Officially, Wiinberg resigned after acknowledging and apologizing for the move, which Lundbeck says clearly violated the company's code of conduct. The board says it was quick to accept the resignation in view of the breach in ethics.

"We cannot operate with degrees of compliance with our code of conduct and the Board of Directors therefore concurs with Ulf Wiinberg's decision to resign," says Lundbeck Chairman Håkan Björklund.

Wiinberg, for his part, says the violation was unintentional. Here's his statement:

"I am sincerely sorry for the course of events, which on my part was unintentional, and of which I myself informed Håkan Björklund. I am extremely happy about my time at Lundbeck and I am proud of having taken part in the development and strengthening of the company. However, based on these events, I have found it in both parties' best interests that I resign from my position today."

Lundbeck says it is now looking for a replacement, with Björklund adding day-to-day oversight to his list of responsibilities in the meantime. Lundbeck shares initially tanked on the news and then rebounded. Ethical violations can be deadly to a career, but they don't necessarily alter a company's commercial prospects.

- here's the release

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