Judgment Day At Bausch & Lomb

Near the end of an acrimonious, seven-hour meeting on Dec. 6 between investors and Bausch & Lomb Inc., a representative from one of the company's largest shareholders stood up to address B&L Chairman Daniel E. Gill. Over the past few years, he said, the optical company had lost $1 billion worth of market capitalization. Its earnings were below 1991 levels. It had ceded market share in key sectors. It was the subject of a Securities & Exchange Commission investigation into questionable accounting practices uncovered by BUSINESS WEEK. Yet Gill continued to cling to power. "What else has to happen," he asked Gill, "for you to resign?" After a stunned silence, the chairman stammered that he would remain until he lost the confidence of B&L's board.

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