One More Thing: Ingram in Valeant hot seat

Hospitalisation of Mike Pearson saw firm split his roles and bring Ingram to the chair

Bob Ingram was last week appointed interim chairman of troubled the troubled firm. Photograph: Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Drug industry veteran Bob Ingram is developing a knack of landing tricky roles.

Best known in Ireland for his chairmanship of Elan in its last days as Ireland's largest indigenous pharma group, he now finds himself back in the hot seat as interim chairman of troubled Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Ingram first joined the board of Valeant, the hard-charging generics group led by Canadian Mike Pearson, back in autumn 2010 just before he was parachuted on to the Elan board to mollify certain mutinous shareholders in the group.

After a brief stint as chairman in 2010/11, he has been lead independent director at the group renowned for acquiring rival pharma companies and slashing R&D spend while subsuming their products into the Valeant portfolio and raising their prices sharply.


It was a winning strategy until last year when drug pricing became a front page issue alongside concerns about Valeant’s distribution practices. Pearson’s subsequent hospitalisation saw the company split his roles last week and bring restore Ingram to the chair.

It's a lot of activity for a man who nominally "retired" in 2002 after leading Glaxo Wellcome into a merger with Smithkline Beecham to form British drug kingpin GlaxoSmithKline in 2000 but he shows no signs of slowing up, having also joined former Elan colleague Kelly Martin at highly active listed life sciences investment group Malin.

But, as the owner of one of the largest known collections of Porsches, Ingram is hardly likely to settle for life in the slow lane.