The retiring CEO is leaving with a $50 million retirement package.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Drug maker Schering-Plough Corp. named veteran pharmaceutical industry executive Fred Hassan as its new chief executive officer and president.
Hassan, who lost his job as head of drug maker Pharmacia Corp. last Wednesday when it was acquired by industry behemoth Pfizer Inc., was considered the front-runner to take over at Schering-Plough. In November, CEO Richard Jay Kogan announced plans to retire.
Hassan's appointment Sunday came two days before the beleaguered maker of Claritin and other allergy and respiratory medicines planned to hold its annual meeting.
Kogan, 61, said he would step down at Kenilworth, N.J.-based Schering-Plough's annual meeting or earlier, if the board selected a replacement sooner. Kogan is receiving a retirement package worth about $50 million.
Speculation that the position would go to Hassan -- who has worked in the industry for three decades -- increased last week when he backed out of a deal to join Pfizer as vice chairman. The vice chairman position had no operational duties and the contract barred him from working for a Pfizer competitor for two years if he didn't quit before the acquisition was completed.
Kogan's resignation came as pressures on the company mounted.
Its stock has been in a long, steep slide, with shares trading below $20, down from $60 two years ago. Schering-Plough was hit with a record $500 million fine from the Food and Drug Administration for sloppy manufacturing practices, and Kogan had recently come under scrutiny for meeting privately with some investors.