Sherman Bernard

Publié le par Mémoires de Guerre

Bernard Charles "Barry" Sherman (1942 – December 15, 2017) was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist, the chairman and CEO of Apotex Inc. With an estimated net worth of US$3.2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, Sherman was the 12th-wealthiest Canadian. Another publication, Canadian Business, stated his fortune at $4.77 billion (CAD), ranking him the 15th richest in Canada.

Sherman Bernard
Sherman Bernard
Sherman Bernard

Sherman was born to a Jewish family and entered the University of Toronto's engineering science program at age 16, believed to be the youngest to do so. He graduated with the highest honours in his class and received the university's Governor General's Award for his thesis. He then received a PhD in astrophysics from MIT. While at Toronto's Forest Hill Collegiate Institute and completing his university education at University of Toronto, Sherman often worked for his uncle Louis Lloyd Winter, at his Empire Laboratories, the largest Canadian wholly owned pharmaceutical company at that time. When his uncle would travel, Sherman often helped watch over the operations. Empire provided Sherman with the training and foundation for his development of Apotex Inc., a Canadian generic pharmaceuticals company. In 1967, after completing his PhD, Sherman purchased the Empire Group of Companies from the executor of the estate of his aunt and uncle, Beverley and Louis Lloyd Winter, as both had died seventeen days apart in November 1965, leaving four orphaned young children: Paul Timothy, Jeffrey Andrew, Kerry Joel Dexter, and Dana Charles. 

Prior to the purchase, Empire was the first to secure the compulsory rights to manufacture Hoffman-La Roche's Valium (diazepam), and was one of Canada's largest manufacturers of Pfizer's Vibramycin (doxycycline), Upjohn Company's Orinase (tolbutamide), and the dietary sweetener saccharin. To facilitate the corporate acquisition, Sherman along with his high school friend, Joel Ulster (Sherman and Ulster Limited), offered 5% equity options to each of the four children and a 15-year royalty on four of its patented products. In 2011 the Winter children's estate sued Sherman and Royal Trust concerning the purchase of the corporate assets and brands from the Winter children's estate, alleging in court that Sherman and his partner never paid the royalties nor provided the promised equity in the businesses. The cousins were seeking a 20% interest in Apotex or damages of $1 billion. In September 2017, an Ontario Superior Court justice ruled against the cousins. At the time of the judgement, a lawyer for the cousins said they would appeal, though no appeal occurred, and Sherman died a few months later under unknown circumstances.

In 1970 he invested in New York's Barr Laboratories with US-based partners, became its largest shareholder and served as Barr's president. As of 2000, he controlled about 33% of Barr Laboratories' stock. Barr won the first rights to manufacture generic versions of Eli Lilly's Prozac. Today, Barr Laboratories' is a part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest generic drug maker, following Teva's acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals in 2008. In January 1972, Sherman and Ulster Limited sold Empire Laboratories to the Quebec-based Canadian operations of publicly traded International Chemical and Nuclear (ICN) of California, for 57,000 shares (Valeant Pharmaceuticals). In 1973, Sherman started Apotex with a few former Empire Laboratories' personnel and he incorporated it in 1974. This privately owned and Sherman controlled company claims to be Canada's largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical. Sherman also became involved in Nutraceutical manufacturing and other businesses, founding NION (National Institute of Nutrition) with Richard Kashenberg. He later sold the company to Schiff and continued onto Apotex.

By 2016, Apotex employed over 10,000 people as one of Canada's largest drug manufacturers, with over 260 products selling in over 115 countries. Revenues were about $1.5 billion annually. Sherman was married to Honey Sherman, a fellow University of Toronto graduate, and they had four children. Sherman, with his wife, donated a record $50 million to the United Jewish Appeal. They provided funds to build a major addition to the geriatric Baycrest centre, and to other Toronto-area community centres in Ontario. The couple were also major donors to the United Way. As well, the Apotex Foundation had sent over $50 million worth of medicine to disaster zones since 2007. On December 15, 2017, police officers were called to Sherman's home in North York, Toronto where they discovered the bodies of Sherman and his wife hanging side by side next to their indoor pool. The deaths are being treated as "suspicious" and Toronto Police Service Homicide has taken the lead in the investigation. Post-mortem examinations showed the cause of death for both deceased was "ligature neck compression".

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