12/22/2017 18:11 EST | Updated 12/22/2017 18:27 EST

Barry Sherman Put 'Robust Succession Plan' In Place 5 Years Ago: Apotex

He hadn't been involved in day-to-day operations for years.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-United Jewish Appeal
Barry and Honey Sherman are shown in a handout photo from the United Jewish Appeal.

TORONTO — Apotex Inc. says it wants to set the record straight about how the pharmaceutical company will be managed following the death of its founder, Barry Sherman, and his wife Honey.

Apotex says that Sherman, 75, hadn't been involved in day-to-day operations since he stepped down as chief executive officer five years ago.

REUTERS/Mark Blinch
A woman cries during a memorial service for Apotex pharmaceutical billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife Honey on Dec. 21, 2017.

Jeremy B. Desai has been president and CEO of Apotex Inc. since 2014 and, prior to that, the CEO's job had been transferred from Sherman to Jack Kay, who is now the company's vice-chairman.

Questions about the future of Apotex — one of Canada's biggest generic drug makers — arose after the bodies of the billionaire couple were found in their Toronto home last week.

Many of the personal anecdotes in the wake of Sherman's death focused on his hands-on approach to running Apotex, which he founded in 1974 and grew into a company with more than $2 billion in annual revenue.

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An Apotex spokesman — who had declined to discuss specific details prior to their funeral, out of respect for the Shermans — said Friday that he wanted to set the record straight.

"Barry had developed a robust succession plan which he began implementing five years ago when he stepped down as CEO. From that point on until his tragic death, Dr. Sherman was no longer involved in day-to-day operations at Apotex rather, focused on some specific aspects of the business," Apotex spokesman Jordan Berman said in an email Friday.

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