Howard Solomon, 94, Dies; His Business Success Had a Personal Connection

“Forest Pharmaceuticals has deliberately chosen to pursue corporate profits in exchange for its obligations to the Food and Drug Administration and the American public,” said Carmen Ortiz, a US attorney for Massachusetts, when the settlement was announced.

The company denied the allegations. In a statement issued at the time, Mr. Solomon said: “We remain committed to ensuring that we operate in full compliance with all laws and regulations.”

In 2011, Forest Labs won a proxy battle against shareholder activist Carl C. Icahn, who argued that the company, among other things, had lost billions of dollars in shareholder value over the past decade. Mr. Icahn continued to pursue Forest Labs in a second proxy fight in 2012, which ended with the election of one of his nominees to the company’s board of directors.

In a letter to Mr. Icahn during that battle, Mr. Solomon wrote: “Your speech thus far showed a blatant lack of strategic ideas. Instead, it was filled with wild and baseless accusations, allusions and distortions of facts.”

However, at some point, Mr. Solomon reached out to Mr. Icahn, and they set up a series of dinners.

“We became friendly,” Mr. Icahn said in a phone interview. “I thought he was a nice guy, a polite guy.” He added, “I didn’t necessarily agree with the way he ran the company, but he was a nice guy who was happy with the result. He made a lot of money.”

In 2013, Mr. Solomon announced his retirement as CEO and was replaced by Brent Saunders, an executive friend with Mr. Icahn. Then, in early 2014, Actavis (now Allergan) paid $25 billion to acquire Forest Laboratories. Mr. Solomon, who was still Chairman, left after the acquisition and formed a family investment business with his youngest son, David, who was CEO of Forest Labs.

In addition to his children, Mr. Solomon is survived by his wife, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon, former Assistant Director General for Technical Affairs at the Metropolitan Opera, and five grandchildren. His first wife, Caroline (Bauer) Solomon, died in 1991.

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