(Reuters) – Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck’s chief executive Ulf Wiinberg has resigned because of a breach in the company’s code of conduct relating to shares he received in a biotech group.
Lundbeck said in 2013, Wiinberg had not obtained prior approval from the board to receive shares in biotech company Stratified Medical from its founder.
Lundbeck said in a statement on Monday that the shares in question were in a company in which Lundbeck later invested around 19 million Danish crowns ($3.2 million).
Wiinberg apologised for these events, which he said were unintentional on his part and that he had told chairman Håkan Björklund about them himself.
“Based on these events, I have found it in both parties’ best interests that I resign from my position today,” Wiinberg said.
Lundbeck’s shares fell as much as 9.8 percent just after the stock market opened in Copenhagen. By 09:24 GMT the shares were 1.3 percent lower at 124.70 crowns while Copenhagen main index was up 0.7 percent.
Lundbeck said a search for a replacement for Wiinberg would begin immediately.
Soren Lontoft, analyst from Sydbank, said Wiinberg had been important for Lundbeck’s development from a company with one major product, a depression treatment, to one with several treatments for the central nervous system.
“The timing is really bad for Lundbeck facing expiring patents for key products, and with launches and upcoming approvals for new products in the next couple of years,” Lontoft said.
Lundbeck chairman Bjorklund said in the statement that although Wiinberg had acknowledged and apologised for his erroneous actions, this did not change the fact that Lundbeck had a clear and unmistakable code of conduct for all employees.
Wiinberg’s pay in 2013 was DKK 16.7 million, according to the company’s annual report.
(1 US dollar = 5.9996 Danish crown)
By Ole Mikkelsen (Additional reporting by Annabella Pultz Nielsen. Editing by Jane Merriman)