When Rodman and Renshaw biotech analyst Mike King told me "Genentech was gonna get its geek on," at its annual analyst meeting today I didn't realize how spot on he might be. Today the company took a deep dive into the science of its drug research and development pipeline ... cabbage looper worms and all. I'm not kidding. But the ultimate geek factor came from the company's Chairman and CEO Art Levinson.
During his presentation CFO David Ebersman told a funny anecdote about bumping into his basketball idol Patrick Ewing in the elevator of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel last night where the meeting is being held. Ebersman said he invited Ewing to the analyst meeting, but when he looked out into the crowd and saw he wasn't there figured Ewing had other plans.
When Ebersman was finished Levinson got back up to make his closing remarks. He said when Ebersman mentioned Ewing he turned to the high-level executive next to him on the dais (I can't recall the seating arrangements) and asked, "Who's Patrick Ewing?". The exec next to Levinson shrugged his shoulders and turned to the exec next to him who also responded, "I dunno.". Turns out only two members of the C-suite team could answer the question.
Levinson said it goes to show the company hires smart, hard-working people and not folks who have to know who Patrick Ewing is. Ebersman chimed in that it is a pre-requisite. Laughter ensued. The Genentech execs were definitely getting their geek on.
I'm assuming Ewing's in town for tonight's NCAA's at the Meadowlands between Georgetown and Vandy. Here's hoping Vandy pulls off the big upset and so do my Trojans. Off to Continental Airlines arena.
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