Tuesday, January 23, 2007


In quantum mechanics there’s a famous thought experiment known as "Schrodinger’s Cat Paradox," in which somehow a cat in a box is dead and alive simultaneously (don’t ask) until someone opens the box to check it out.

Here at Proxyland we are unfazed by paradox. Last Friday Omnicare, Inc. (OCR) and its EVP/Chief Operating Officer Glen Laschober parted ways, well before the expiration of the 2-year contract signed on his arrival in August 2005. According to press reports, he was "terminated by mutual agreement." Meaning, I guess, that he was fired, and also somehow not fired.

Things hadn’t been going well at Omnicare since Mr. Laschober showed up. Its net earnings fell more than a third in the first nine months of 2006, maybe because of a plant shutdown, a slump in the company's nursing home business and six different drug recalls caused by mislabeling.

Until we receive word on the nature of Mr. Laschober’s severance package, he shall remain nicely suspended in his fired/unfired state. Officially, of course, he pranced off joyfully "to pursue other interests" (which I’m hoping do not in any way involve dead cats). So logically he ought to be leaving under the "resignation without good reason" clause of his contract, which would render him unfired but severance-less.

I just have a funny feeling, though, that when the box is opened and the 8-K filed, we will find Mr. Laschober to have been fired ("terminated without cause"), yielding him a cash payment of twice his base salary (which was set at $360,000 on his arrival but could be higher now) and twice his 2006 bonus, whatever that was. Also, Omnicare still owes him restricted stock to make up for stock options granted by his former employer, CVS, that would have vested in 2007 and 2008. (He's already received "make-up" equity for his 2006 CVS options.) This may or may not amount to much; he wasn’t enough of a fat cat at CVS to make it into the proxy there, so we don't know the exercise price.

I look forward to the swift resolution of Laschober’s Paradox. Meanwhile we can puzzle over a new scientific paradox, the one in which American Idol's Paula Abdul is drunk and not drunk at the same time.