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LI drugmaker Amneal replaces CEO amid continuing losses

Chirag Patel, left, and Chintu Patel, shown in

Chirag Patel, left, and Chintu Patel, shown in 2009, are the new co-CEOs of Amneal Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug manufacturer with operations in Suffolk County. Credit: Newsday / Mahala Gaylord

Drugmaker Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has large factories in Suffolk County, has replaced its CEO with the company’s founders and shaken up the board of directors amid continuing losses, officials said Monday.

Chirag and Chintu Patel have been appointed co-CEOs of Amneal, effective immediately. They succeed Robert Stewart, who resigned Friday after about one year in the top job, according to a securities filing.

Chintu Patel is well-known in local business and charity circles and serves on the board of directors of the Long Island Association business group.

The changes in the leadership of Amneal, which is based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, come less than a month after the company unveiled a $50 million cost-savings plan that calls for closing its Hauppauge factory next year and another in East Hanover, New Jersey.

Amneal will eliminate 220 jobs in Hauppauge and an undisclosed number at its giant plant and warehouse in South Yaphank, where between 800 and 900 people work, company spokesman David Belian said last month. There are no plans, he said, to shut down the South Yaphank operation or a warehouse in Commack.

The job cuts were in response to Amneal’s losses in 2018 and in  2019's first quarter due to increased competition, sales declines and lower drug prices. The company manufactures generic prescription drugs.  

On Monday the company reported a loss of $17 million for the April-June period, compared with a loss of $19 million a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter totaled $405 million, a drop of 2.2 percent, year over year.

The Patels started Amneal 17 years ago and built it into the country’s fifth-largest producer of generic prescription medicine. They stepped away from day-to-day management last year after Amneal went public by purchasing California drugmaker Impax Laboratories Inc., whose shares traded on the Nasdaq stock market at the time.

Amneal shares now trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Chirag Patel said Monday he and his brother “built this business from the ground up. While we recognize the challenges ahead of us, we are excited by the opportunity to lead Amneal in its next phase of growth.”

The Patels will each be paid $1 per year, according to a securities filing.

Stewart also resigned from the Amneal board on Friday, along with four other directors. All had been re-elected at the annual shareholders' meeting in May.

The Patels continue to serve on the board  but have been succeeded as board chairman by Paul M. Meister, CEO of investment firm Liberty Lane Partners in New Hampshire.

The announcement came before the stock market opened. At the market's close, Amneal shares were down 23 cents, or more than 7 percent, to $3.02 on the New York Stock Exchange. 

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