Charles R. Klimkowski, director of investments at ABN AMRO Chicago Corp. Asset Management, which manages $6 billion for tax-exempt institutions, plays an unusual dual role most clients don't know about.
In his less-known role, Mr. Klimkowski is chairman of the board of Theragenics Corp., a high-flying medical technology company based in Norcross, Ga.
Its stock, which trades on Nasdaq, has a current market capitalization of some $650 million. When he became chairman in 1994, its market value was only $23 million. He has been a director of Theragenics since 1993.
"No, it's not typical," he said, for a chief investment officer at a money management firm to be chairman of an unrelated publicly traded company.
Mr. Klimkowski said he doesn't bring up his involvement with Theragenics to Chicago Corp.'s investment management clients.
"Clients aren't really aware of it," he said.
He might mention it to a client if there is a mutual interest related to Theragenics, he said.
"We have a foundation (that is a client) with a doctor on its board," said Mr. Klimkowski, who mentioned his company to him. "That would be the way they (clients) might find out" from him.
Except for Theragenics' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the link between Mr. Klimkowski and Chicago Corp. and Theragenics hasn't been reported, according to a check of the extensive Nexis database.
The dual positions give rise to potential conflicts of interests, Mr. Klimkowski acknowledged. He said Chicago Corp. avoids conflicts by not buying the stock for clients. A 13(f) filing, compiled by CDA Investment Technologies Inc., Rockville, Md., showed Chicago Corp. bought an initial 100,000 shares in Theragenics in the quarter ended June 30, when it closed at $23 a share, and sold it all in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, when it closed at $49.63.
Mr. Klimkowski said he was unaware of the filing. He said it might stem from another side of Chicago Corp., where employees as individuals own the stock, holding it in street name. In fact, he said, at times Chicago Corp. employees owned 3% or 4% of Theragenics. A CDA spokesman said Chicago Corp. in the third quarter filed an amended report without explanation showing it had no Theragenics position.
Mr. Klimkowski directly or indirectly owns 29,200 shares of Theragenics stock. At a recent price of $45, they are worth more than $1.3 million. In addition, he owns options for another 80,000 shares. "I haven't exercised them," he said. "But they are in the money."
Theragenics makes radioactive "seeds" used to treat prostate cancer. TheraSeeds, as the product is called, are a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. The seeds, each the size of a rice grain, are titanium capsules containing radioactive palladium 103. About 50 of the seeds are implanted near the prostate. It is a one-time treatment. The seeds are left permanently implanted. Their radioactivity, however, declines after a couple of months.
Andrew Grove, chairman and chief executive officer of Intel Corp., wrote an expansive account in Fortune in 1996 about his battle with prostate cancer and his examination of treatment options. In the end he used radioactive seeds as part of his treatment, although he doesn't name the maker. Mr. Klimkowski said he doesn't know if they were TheraSeeds.
Mr. Klimkowski got involved in Theragenics through a former colleague, John V. Herndon. They worked together in the 1960s at Nuclear Chicago, a unit of G.D. Searle & Co. Mr. Klimkowski, an electrical engineer by training, eventually got involved in financial analysis at the company. In 1972, he joined A.G. Becker Co., the pioneering pension investment consulting firm, where he worked until he joined Chicago Corp. in 1980.
His work with Theragenics gives him an unusual perspective to aid his work in investment management, although he has to keep his interest in each business separate.