CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genzyme Corporation (NASDAQ: GENZ) announced today that it has taken steps to strengthen the role of its lead independent director, and appointed new leadership to head the board’s audit committee. These actions, along with the recently announced changes to the senior executive incentive compensation plans, further strengthen the company’s corporate governance.
“Organizational renewal is important to ensuring a strong and robust board for company shareholders,” said former Senator Connie Mack, a Genzyme board member and chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee. “Strengthening the lead independent director position is a growing practice at many companies where CEOs also serve as board chair.”
The lead independent director will now have an expanded role in determining the direction of the discussions that take place at the board level, including the approval of full board meeting agendas and materials. Robert Carpenter, president of the privately-held investment company Boston Medical Investors Inc., is currently serving in the role of Lead Director. Mr. Carpenter is also the board chair at Hydra Biosciences, and has served as board chair or CEO at several biotechnology companies.
To build continuity with shareholders and company leaders, the role will have a three-year term, should the director be re-elected annually.
New board director Robert Bertolini, the former executive vice president and chief financial officer at Schering-Plough Corp., was also appointed to chair the Audit Committee. Mr. Bertolini, prior to joining Schering-Plough, had a 20-year career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and ultimately led the firm’s global pharmaceutical industry practice.
“We want to thank Doug Berthiaume, who previously chaired the Audit Committee, for his excellent service in this role,” said Sen. Mack. “We look forward to Bob Bertolini’s new leadership and fresh perspectives.”
The board also recently approved changes to the company’s governance guidelines, to reflect a commitment that at least two-thirds of its board will consist of independent members. Previously, the guidelines required only half of the board to consist of independent members. The current nine member Genzyme board has only one non-independent member.
One of the world's leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people with serious diseases. Since 1981, the company has grown from a small start-up to a diversified enterprise with more than 12,000 employees in locations spanning the globe and 2008 revenues of $4.6 billion.
With many established products and services helping patients in approximately 100 countries, Genzyme is a leader in the effort to develop and apply the most advanced technologies in the life sciences. The company's products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant and immune disease, and diagnostic testing. Genzyme's commitment to innovation continues today with a substantial development program focused on these fields, as well as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and other areas of unmet medical need.
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