Howard Solomon, 94, dies; His commercial success had a personal connection

“Forest Pharmaceuticals deliberately chose to pursue corporate profits at the expense of its obligations to the FDA and the American public,” Carmen Ortiz, the US attorney from Massachusetts, said when the settlement was announced.

The company denied the allegations. In a statement at the time, Mr Solomon said: ‘We remain committed to ensuring that we operate in full compliance with all laws and regulations.

In 2011, Forest Labs won a proxy contest against activist shareholder Carl C. Icahn, who argued that the company had, among other things, lost billions of dollars in shareholder value over the previous decade. Mr. Icahn continued to sue Forest Labs with a second proxy fight in 2012, which ended with the election of one of his nominees to the company’s board.

In a letter to Mr. Icahn during that fight, Mr. Solomon wrote: “Your speech so far has shown a striking lack of strategic ideas. Instead, it was filled with savage and baseless accusations, innuendoes and distortions of facts.

Yet, at some point, Mr. Solomon contacted Mr. Icahn, and they had a series of dinner parties.

“We became friends,” Mr. Icahn said in a phone interview. “I thought he was a nice gentleman, a courteous guy.” He added: “I didn’t necessarily agree with the way he ran the business, but he was a nice guy who was delighted with the result. He made a lot of money.”

In 2013, Mr. Solomon announced his retirement as chief executive and was replaced by Brent Saunders, an executive friend of Mr. Icahn. Then, in early 2014, Actavis (now Allergan) paid $25 billion to acquire Forest Labs. Mr. Solomon, still chairman, left after the acquisition and formed a family investment company with his youngest son, David, who had been an executive at Forest Labs.

Besides his sons, Mr. Solomon is survived by his wife, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon, former assistant general manager of artistic affairs at the Metropolitan Opera, and five grandchildren. His first wife, Carolyn (Bower) Solomon, died in 1991.

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