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Forest Labs: Celebrating A Real Family Affair

In the "Sunday Styles" section of "The New York Times" the paper runs a very prestigious weekly feature known as "Vows". It's a relatively long write-up of someone's wedding and accompanied by pictures from the event. Yesterday, the Times highlighted the ceremony of Andrew Solomon and John Habich (for at least a few years now, The Times has included same-sex partnerships in its "Weddings/Celebrations").

"The Noonday Demon" & "A Stone Boat" by Andrew Solomon
"The Noonday Demon" & "A Stone Boat" by Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon is the accomplished author of a book called, "The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression". Among other things, the book chronicles Mr. Solomon's own battle with depression. He followed up that book with a novel, "A Stone Boat," which is now available for as little as one cent on Amazon.com.

So, why am I blogging about it? Well, Andrew Solomon, who according to The Times is 43 years old, is the son of Howard Solomon who for 30 years (30 years!) has been the CEO of Forest Labs. Ironically, FRX's top-selling product is the antidepressant Lexapro.The company sold more than $2 billion worth of Lexapro last year. That's two-thirds of Forest's top line. Lexapro is the company's second big anti-depressant, the successor to Celexa which has since gone generic. According to Forbes, in 2005, the senior Solomon was the fourth-highest paid CEO--not in pharma and biotech, but among all CEOs--taking home more than $92 million that year.

That made him the highest paid chief executive in the sector, even though many other drug and biotech companies dwarfed FRX's sales and market cap. Forbes says Howard Solomon's six-year average compensation as of 2005 was $53 million a year. Last year the elder Solomon slipped from #4 to #61 on Forbes' CEO list earning $25.5 million. So far this year FRX shares are down about 10 bucks or nearly 20%.

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Despite his long tenure and large compensation, Howard Solomon does not do interviews with CNBC. Since 2003 when we started keeping close track, CNBC has made at least four requests for him to come on our air. One of our bookers recalls being told that he "does not do TV".

Andrew Solomon and his partner, John Habich, a deputy editor at Newsday, on Long Island, (New York) had their ceremony in England at Althorp,the Spencer estate. Yes, that Spencer estate--as in Lady Diana Spencer.The Times reports there were nearly 300 guests including Howard Solomon and the actress, Uma Thurman.The Times account says, "Mr. (Andrew) Solomon (wore) an Asian tunic made of 19th-century (my emphasis) salmon-colored silk fabric, tailored by Hardy Aimes Ltd., the Savile Row clothiers, with touches added by Han Feng, a New York fashion designer."

USA Today reported a couple of years ago that in a magazine which was sent to people who hold the American Express "ultra-exclusive Centurion Card" (I thought the black card was as good as it gets) Princess Diana's brother was offering to rent the estate for $56,000 a night, but that the price would vary depending on "guests' requirements".

Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Solomon and Mr. Habich.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com