$ARIA CEO Berger to retire in deal with top investor

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Ariad Pharma CEO Berger to retire in deal with top investor

April 29 (Reuters) – Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc said Chief Executive Harvey Berger would retire as part of a deal to settle its proxy battle with largest shareholder Sarissa Capital Management.

Ariad’s shares were up 4 percent at $9.22 in premarket trading.

Hedge fund Sarissa mounted a proxy battle in February to oust Berger, Ariad’s CEO for nearly 14 years.

The drugmaker on Wednesday also appointed Sarissa’s nominee and former Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd executive, Anna Protopapas, to its board.

As part of the deal, Sarissa will withdraw its proposed slate of director nominees for election at Ariad’s annual meeting.

Berger’s retirement will be effective upon appointment of his successor or Dec. 31, whichever is earlier.

Sarissa, an activist fund run by investor Carl Icahn’s former healthcare lieutenant, Alex Denner, holds a 6.85 percent stake in Ariad, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Ariad said its board had formed a panel, headed by Denner, to find a successor for Berger.

(Reporting by Shailesh Kuber in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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