Actavis Chairman Bisaro Joins Zoetis Board With Ackman Blessing

Zoetis Inc. named the chairman of drugmaker Actavis Plc to its board in an agreement the animal-health company reached with activist shareholder Bill Ackman.

With the addition of Paul Bisaro, who will serve on the compensation committee, Zoetis’s board will expand to 11 members. At Actavis, Bisaro has overseen a series of acquisitions to forge one of the biggest companies in the pharmaceutical industry.

Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP is the largest shareholder of Zoetis after disclosing a stake in November. The investor sees a large opportunity to reduce expenses, according to people who attended a meeting where he spoke that month. Zoetis has said its costs aren’t comparable to other drugmakers with animal-health units because it’s a stand-alone company.

Zoetis and Pershing Square agreed on Bisaro’s selection, completing an accord they disclosed in February in which the investment group agreed to back Zoetis’s other board members. Pershing Square also won the right to appoint Bill Doyle, a member of its investment team, to the board in that deal.

Ackman and Bisaro’s company had butted heads last year in a fight over the acquisition of Allergan Inc., with the investor backing a rival bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. Actavis eventually won the battle with a bid valued at $70.5 billion, and Pershing Square settled a lawsuit with Allergan last week.

Bisaro was Actavis’s chief executive officer from September 2007 to July 2014. A lawyer by training, he also served as president and chief operating officer of Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was later bought by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in 2008.

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