Pershing Square, the hedge fund managed by billionaire activist Bill Ackman, laid out a disastrous first quarter in a letter to shareholders Wednesday.
The fund lost roughly a quarter of its value after posting a 25.2% loss before accounting for fees. This was driven primarily by the plummeting stock price of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), which accounted for 16.2% of the damages.
But some of the most troubling news sat on the document's final page. It was there that Ackman outlined the departure of Bill Doyle (pictured), a member of the investment team at Pershing who was first brought in as a senior adviser in 2013.
Aside from Doyle being a key player in Big Pharma -- an industry Ackman perhaps needs help the most -- he is a sitting board member of animal-health giant Zoetis (ZTS), a Pershing investment that weighed down the fund's gross return 1.2% on the quarter.
Doyle also serves on the board of cancer-treatment firm Novacure (NVCR), which he helped steer as chairman into an initial public offering last October.
"Juan Ramon Alaix, the CEO of Zoetis came on Mad Money and said Doyle was an incredibly valuable board member with tremendous insight to health care," Real Money's Jim Cramer said in a post-market email Wednesday.
"I think this man is an excellent investor and thinker and did a fabulous job for Pershing," he added, noting a close friend was kept alive far longer than expected due to a brain-tumor device manufacturer by Novocure.
Doyle is also the cofounder of WFD Ventures, a provider of equity financing to medical device and healthcare companies, and has more than 20 years of experience in the industry -- notably serving on the operating committee of Jonhnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Devices and Diagnostics Group from 1995-1999. He also has served as a healthcare management consultant at McKinsey.
And Doyle was also a classmate of Ackman's at Harvard, and is largely credited for introducing him to Michael Pearson, the recently departed CEO of Valeant.
Ackman, who has recently joined the board of Valeant, along with Pershing vice-chairman Stephen Fraidin, said that the departing Doyle will remain a private adviser of his own family's funds.
"The demands of overseeing Novocure and managing its relationship with its shareholders and other stakeholders have made it infeasible for Bill to continue as a member of the investment team," he said.
"As a result, Bill will be leaving Pershing Square Capital Management and, in addition to Novocure, will be working part-time at Table Management, an entity which oversees private investments for my family."