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Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialisation of innovative therapies for patients with debilitating rare diseases, has appointed Mary Szela as CEO and a member of board of directors. Szela replaces interim CEO Sandford Smith who took over after the resignation of former CEO Marc Beer in July 2015. After stepping down as Interim CEO, Smith was appointed chairman of the board of directors, allowing him to continue to work closely with the management team to maintain the momentum on key company initiatives.
Aegerion has faced increasing investor pressure of late, with a barrage of hostilities from activist investor, Alex Denner. He won a breakthrough earlier this year when a standstill agreement was reached with the board and CEO, Marc Beer, to nominate an independent board director for his investment firm Sarissa Capital Management, installing Jorge Plutzky as the nominated independent director . Denner is a former investor with Carl Icahn, also famed for his aggressive investor activism and ability to use corporate governance to enforce change.