The cost of waiting…

May 18, 2005

After nearly a year of running without a CEO, SciClone (SCLN) announced several weeks ago that they had finally found someone. But it clearly took a lot to convince Dr. Ira Lawrence to come and work for the biotech, judging by his employment contract in a recent 8-K. Though the salary of $400K, which is about 20% less than that of former CEO Donald Sellers, who resigned last July, doesn’t seem all that extreme, the long list of perks does: 800,000 stock options, a $10,000 a month housing allowance (for the next seven years) and the cost of moving Lawrence’s personal effects from his two homes — including a baby grand piano, a wine collection and an art collection (yes, it actually spells these things out in the employment contract) — from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay area. Are biotech CEOs really that difficult to find these days that SciClone’s investors needed to shell out this kind of money to lure someone? Or was this just the cost of waiting too long to hire someone? SciClone investors should hope that once Lawrence is surrounded by his art and wine in a company-paid pad, he can focus his full attention on improving shareholder value.

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