Independent research firm Gradient Analytics, accused of being the hatchet men for hedge funds in a pair of lawsuits, announced that Brad Forst will succeed firm founder and Chairman Carr Bettis as president and CEO. Bettis will remain chairman and also will assume the title chief scientist.
The firm denied that the lawsuits prompted the leadership change. Both pharmaceutical firm BioVail Corp. and internet retailer Overstock.com accuse the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Gradient of colluding with hedge fund short-sellers by issuing negative research reports. Gradient denies wrongdoing in both cases.
In a statement, Forst, the former CEO of safety technology firm Simula, said, “The integrity of Gradient’s research process and its impressive track record make its continuing growth an exciting prospect.”