NEW YORK, Sept. 17 – Klaus Sprockamp, Lion Bioscience's chief financial officer, is among the nearly 5,000 people missing following last Tuesday’s terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the company's CEO Friedrich von Bohlen said Monday.
“Klaus was at a meeting with an investor who had offices on a high floor in the southern building when the attack occurred,” von Bohlen said.
Sprockamp was in the second tower to be hit when two hijacked passenger planes slammed into and toppled the 110-story twin towers. Experts fear that many people in the second tower may not have evacuated the building after the north tower was hit, thinking that the attack was over.
Von Bohlen said two other Lion employees were on their way to a later meeting at the World Trade Center but heard the news of the attack before arriving downtown.
“He [Sprockamp] was supposed to have a meeting later with two other guys from Lion and then the first plane crashed,” von Bohlen said.
Von Bohlen said that Sprockamp’s family was still holding out hope that he might still be alive.
“Our thoughts are with his family,” said von Bohlen. “I have known Klaus for eight years. He was more than a colleague, he was a friend.”
Sprockamp, 42, is married and has two children. He joined Lion of Heidelberg, Germany, as CFO in January 1999, after working as a consultant for the company.
Lion said that until Sprockamp’s fate is known, Lion’s corporate controller, Peter Willinger, would perform the CFO’s duties.
Von Bohlen said that despite the tragedy, the company was prepared to move ahead and that its deal with Bayer, which has recently raised concerns, remained in tact.
"We are aware that the uncertainty regarding the whereabouts of our CFO as well as speculations concerning our continued collaboration with Bayer in recent days has led to a general insecurity about Lion," von Bohlen said. "Despite our fears and concerns about Klaus Sprockamp, any such insecurity is wholly unfounded."
Last week, Bayer announced that it intended to keep its pharmaceuticals business and that Lion would continue to be a corporate partner.
"Any rumors about a sale of Lion shares by Bayer and any speculations about a termination of our collaboration with Bayer are simply false," said von Bohlen.
Bayer owns 7.5 percent of Lion's outstanding shares.
“The did not sell any shares and they don’t intend to sell shares,” von Bohlen said.
He added that the company aims to have one or two more collaborative deals in place by the end of the March 2002.