'Who are you?' Elan boss snaps at FT columnist
"Well, I don't know who you are," a prickly Kelly Martin told a journalist yesterday when asked about Elan's share performance and shaky value creation record for shareholders over the past 10 years or more.
The former Merrill Lynch banker was very put out at the suggestion that Elan hadn't done well by shareholders.
He said he resented the suggestion that Elan had performed poorly.
However, there's no denying its stock has resulted in a rollercoaster ride for long-term investors.
But Mr Martin pointed out that when he joined Elan as chief executive back in February 2003, the company's share price in the US was just $1.03 (it actually traded at between $3 and nearly $4 that month).
Yesterday, the shares were changing hands at just under $10. Mr Martin said Elan's equity value had crashed to just $300m by the time he took charge but that it in later years it rose to between $6.5bn and $7bn.
And he knows just how beneficial share ownership can be. Last year he grossed millions of dollars by exercising options and selling shares in Elan.
The frosty exchange with the journalist, however, means Kelly Martin will probably very quickly be educated as to his identity. It was Vincent Boland, the writer of the influential 'Lex' column in the 'Financial Times'.