Proxy truce puts two Icahn reps on Genzyme board

Carl Icahn will get two representatives on Genzyme's board as part of a new proxy peace pact he just signed with the big biotech's management.

In exchange for withdrawing his lineup of four nominees, Icahn will throw his weight behind the company slate and Genzyme will appoint Steven Burakoff, M.D., and Eric Ende, M.D., to serve as directors immediately following its June 16 annual meeting of shareholders. Burakoff was one of Icahn's original four nominees. Ende, a participant in the Icahn funds' proxy solicitation, is a former biotechnology analyst with Merrill Lynch.

The deal "provides a pragmatic and constructive solution that allows us to focus on continuing to strengthen and build the company to create value for our shareholders," said Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer, who gets out of the hot seat after being blistered for months by Icahn over a series of painful manufacturing pratfalls.

"New oversight at the director level will help this great company achieve its full potential," said Icahn, who went on to make happy over the truce. "I am always pleased when a proxy fight can be avoided. I believe Drs. Burakoff and Ende will add significant medical and financial expertise to the Genzyme board. I am also very heartened that the Genzyme board recently brought on Ralph Whitworth, a longtime activist, as a director, and announced that Dennis Fenton will shortly be added to the board as well."

Icahn, of course, has spent much of the last several months excoriating Genzyme's top management, particularly Termeer, the long-time CEO at one of the biggest biotechs in the industry.

- here's the story from Reuters
- here's the press release