Gov. candidate’s dicey business record
While chairman and managing partner of the London-based 3i Private Equity Group, Bob Stefanowski served on the board of a company that became embroiled in controversial drug trials that killed 22 people in India.
The families were paid about $4,500 for each of the dead — called “guinea pigs” by a British newspaper.
The 3i Group also lost $30 million after a rape and sex-trafficking scandal resulted in the sale of a chain of residential homes for troubled youth in England.
These details have emerged in a Hearst Connecticut Media investigation that reviewed corporate records, trade-magazine interviews and news reports linked to the corporate career of Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor running for his first elective office. He promises to run state government like a business.
While Stefanowski was not directly involved in the controversies, his position as a member of the board of Quintiles Healthcare, combined with an earlier report from Hearst, creates a clearer picture for voters, according to Fred Carstensen, director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Research at the University of Connecticut.
“It is a very troubling resume for someone seeking the governor’s office,” Carstensen said. “There is nothing here to argue that he brings any useful experience or skills to public service, e.g. building collaborative teams or helping transfer the culture of a company. I have characterized him as a ‘business bureaucrat’ because I don’t see where he actually created value or help build a better, stronger business.”
Between 2008 and 2011, Stefanowski was chairman and managing partner of 3i Private Equity. According to its 2009 annual report, 3i took a 7 percent share of North Carolina-based Quintiles Transnational Corp, a clinical-trial and pharmaceutical consultant.
Forbes magazine called the company “the leader in a secretive and powerful $20 billion industry, outsourcing clinical trials.”
Quintiles, a contract-research organization, was criticized in the medical industry for questionable quality and potential conflicts of interest because of close ties to their clients in Big Pharma. Forbes reported in 2010 that a federal Food and Drug Administration official wrote a critical review of a diabetes drug that Quintiles tested for GlaxoSmithKline. Quintiles responded that its monitoring of diabetic patients for heart-related ailments was “satisfactory.”
Also in 2010, 22 people, mostly poor and illiterate — according to The Independent newspaper of Britain — died during drug trials in India. In 2011, Quintiles was one of about 10 companies, including Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Bayer that paid families individual settlements, which were approved by the Drug Controller General of India.
In 2013, a North Carolina business journal reported that Quintiles shut down one operation in India “due to a challenging external business environment.”
Sex exploitation in Great Britain
In 2010, another controversy for 3i occurred near Manchester, in the north of England, in a children’s residential facility that became the focus of a sex-trafficking ring.
While he opposes state investments in businesses, when he was chief financial officer at UBS Investment Bank, the firm accepted $20 million in state assistance aimed at keeping the firm in Stamford.
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