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Facing Duties Without Liability Insurance, Lion Bioscience s Co-CEOs, Supervisory Board Resign

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (GenomeWeb News) - Daniel Keesman, co-CEO and chief operating officer, and Martin Hollenhorst, co-CEO and chief financial officer, as well as all three members of the supervisory board of Heidelberg, Germany-based Lion Bioscience have resigned, the company said today. 

Thure Etzold, managing director for Lion Bioscience UK, and Joseph Donahue, chief business officer for Lion Bioscience in North America, have been appointed as co-CEOs. Etzold will be responsible for product development and services, and Donahue will assume responsibility for finance and administration.  

The executives and supervisory board members Jurgen Dormann, Klaus Pohle, and Richard Roy resigned after Wednesday's supervisory board meeting. A local German trade court will work with Lion's majority shareholders to appoint a new supervisory board that will serve until a new board can be elected at the company's annual general meeting.


Shareholders, including former CEO Friedrich von Bohlen, a major shareholder of the company, can be considered for those positions, which serve a corporate governance function. Von Bohlen  resigned from Lion  at the end of 2003.

The supervisory board resigned yesterday after it and the company's executive boards opted not to renew individual liability insurance policies. Current policies were to lapse this week, and premiums for the new policies were regarded as too expensive, said Tracy Coffey, Lion's spokesperson.

Lion is considering de-listing from the Nasdaq exchange, and Coffey said liability insurance policies for companies that are in that process command a premium price.

It is unclear whether a new court-appointed supervisory board will be covered by a liability policy.

Dormann is president of ABB of Switzerland and a founder of Aventis; Pohle is president of the German Standardization Council and also serves on the Aventis board of directors; and Royserves on the board of directors of Swisscom.   

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