UPDATE 1-New Vivus CEO resigns over health issues
Sept 3 (Reuters) - Drugmaker Vivus Inc said Chief Executive Anthony Zook resigned for health reasons, barely a month and a half after he assumed the role following a drawn-out proxy war.
The obesity drugmaker had faced intense investor criticism for bungling the launch of its diet pill Qsymia, leading to an investor revolt that ended with the revamp of the company's board and the appointment of Zook as CEO.
Vivus's board on Tuesday named Seth H.Z. Fischer, a former senior executive at Johnson & Johnson, the new CEO. Fischer will also join the Vivus board.
The company said Zook had resigned due to "recurring issues associated with a previously diagnosed medical condition" but did not provide any further details.
Zook was selected by First Manhattan Co, the activist investor who led the charge against Vivus. The investor said the former AstraZeneca Plc executive's experience in successfully launching big-selling drugs was extremely important for Vivus.
Zook, who was executive vice-president for global commercial operations at AstraZeneca until February, helped launch some of the British company's biggest products, including the multibillion-dollar cholesterol medicine Crestor.
During Vivus's latest quarterly results announcement last month, Zook said keeping a tight control on costs and overcoming barriers to patients' access to Qsymia would be the company's top priorities in the next few months.
Vivus shares closed at $12.53 on Friday on the Nasdaq.