So — Is Fred Hassan Feeling Just A Twinge Of Green, Here?

This looks to be a rather subtle set of complaints, albeit voiced through politely-clenched teeth, by an arguably still operative Fred Hassan “leave-behind” advisor, no? [Read the pull-quotes slowly, below.]

And Tom Randall, writing for Bloomberg, takes the bait — hook, line and sinker, here. Fred sits back and smiles — enjoying that his soundbite/talking point made it into today’s press cycle by proxy.

It is from a Bloomberg update to a story I mentioned earlier on Tuesday — hilarious(!), and transparently so:

“. . . .Ken [Frazier]’s being the savior of the company by leading the Vioxx defense strategy plays a lot into” his promotion, said [Christopher Bowe, a New York-based analyst for London research firm Informa Plc.], who was an adviser to Schering-Plough Corp. CEO Fred Hassan before the sale to Merck. “Merck’s self image is really important inside the company. Ken was the obvious choice. . . .”

While Frazier’s legal experience is extensive, his experience running the operations of a company is limited and may cause doubt for some investors, Informa’s Bowe said.

“Does leading a big pharma company in a very challenging and changing environment require more operational experience?” Bowe asked. “That’s the question. . . .”

Another rather solid question might be why we’d value the word of someone who makes sure that Tom Randall mentions his connection, as an adviser, to Fred Hassan, and Schering-Plough.

The longer I look at it, the more I think I see “Fast” Fred’s green eyes (in decidedly-jealous fashion) peering through Bowe’s remarks, by proxy, here. And his deal-goggles, are — as ever — on. It’s just that this time, no one (not on his payroll) shares his particular brand of goggle-fog.

Ah, Fred — this year, you blew past Merck’s mandatory retirement cut-off age anyway (not that the board would have thought about you for a split-second, as any sort of successor to Dick Clark).


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