July 28, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Management, Press Flap Led to Tauzin’s Exit

Multiple sources also said that Johnson’s flap last year reignited long-held tensions over Tauzin’s tenure, which had irked many pharmaceutical executives since his 2005 arrival.In calmer times, Tauzin’s penchant for out-of-town hunting trips, his casual management style and Johnson’s freelancing were tolerated, sources said. But when Tauzin’s longtime press aide essentially put billions of dollars’ worth of corporate profits at stake, the jig was up, insiders say.“A lot of companies thought [Tauzin] wasn’t carrying his weight from a management perspective and that the press operation had gone awry,” a health care lobbyist said. “Billy wasn’t around, and CEOs were getting frustrated.”A PhRMA press statement late Thursday indicated that Tauzin’s last day will be June 30. Johnson told his staff on Friday that he will leave the same day. An avid sportsman, Tauzin has owned hunting preserves in Texas and Maryland, including 230 acres on the Eastern Shore, according to previous reporting by Roll Call.“He single-handedly is keeping the game population in check in Maryland,” a health care lobbyist said.And even when he was in town, sources claim that Tauzin, who first served in Congress as a Democrat but switched parties after the 1994 GOP House takeover, did not have the necessary clout with Democratic Congressional leadership and the White House that the trade association’s membership craved.The companies also were worried about the return on investment for their recent political bets made on Tauzin’s watch. At his behest, the trade group has poured millions of dollars into Democratic political causes to curry favor with the new majority party. “He was no longer effective in a Democratic-led government,” a Democratic health care lobbyist said. “He didn’t have standing with Democratic leadership on the Hill, he didn’t have any standing or relationships in the White House.”“He left the party,” the source added. “People sort of remember that.”As a result, numerous sources also claimed Tauzin was marginalized from the outset in the health care reform debate by the pharmaceutical companies themselves and by Tauzin’s in-house lobbying and policy team, which frequently worked directly with PhRMA’s member companies.“The CEOs have never been as active as they are now,” a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist said. “It wasn’t Billy that was doing all of the discussions with the White House, it was the CEOs. ... They were acting as the principals more that Billy was.”Tauzin’s personal loyalty to Johnson, too, infuriated Democrats, a source said. Known for his partisanship while a staffer on Capitol Hill, Johnson apparently frustrated member companies for his “insular style.”“Ken has been a huge problem forever. ... He’s not very collaborative with member companies or a lot of his colleagues,” a health care lobbyist said.With Tauzin and Johnson leaving, the hunt is on for their replacements. Sources said the drug industry’s top trade group is unlikely to hire another former Member as president and CEO.Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group, predicted a “tough” recruitment process because of the board’s recent dealings with Tauzin. The job does pay handsomely, though: Tauzin’s annual compensation was estimated at $2 million.

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