The recent turmoil at the upper ranks of VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS ) seems to be abating. The company announced that it has appointed a replacement CEO and a new board chairman. Occupying the former position is Anthony Zook, who takes the reins from the recently ousted Leland Wilson. Meanwhile, Michael Astrue has been tapped to be the company's chairman. Both appointments are effective immediately.
Before being named VIVUS' CEO, Zook was executive vice president of global commercial operations for AstraZeneca. He also served as president of Medimmune, now an AstraZeneca subsidiary.
Astrue was previously the commissioner of Social Security and chairman of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. In the private sector he worked as CEO of Transkaryotic Therapies, which Shire acquired in 2005.
The new chairman was direct about his and Zook's mission. In the press release announcing the two appointments, VIVUS quoted Astrue as saying that "we intend to move quickly on our four main goals: (1) expand use of Qsymia through targeted patient and physician education, (2) find the right partner for Qsymia, (3) quickly create a pathway for approval in Europe, and (4) eliminate expenses that are not essential to expanding use of Qsymia."
Qsymia is a medication the company developed to combat obesity.