Teva Pharm CEO resigns, CFO stands in on interim basis

Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:34am EDT
 
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By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA: Quote), the world's largest generic drugmaker, said its chief executive Jeremy Levin was stepping down and finance chief Eyal Desheh would stand in on an interim basis, effective immediately.

Earlier this week, Teva and Levin denied an Israeli media report that Levin was considering resigning due to a rift with the company's board of directors over Teva's strategy.

Levin took the helm of Israel-based Teva (TEVA.N: Quote) in May 2012, promising to reshape the company by developing its own medicines amid increasing competition in the generics market, and to divest businesses in non-core areas.

Earlier this month, Teva said it would cut 5,000 jobs - 10 percent of its workforce - accelerating a cost-cutting plan as it prepares for lower-priced competition to its best-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

"We have had different views on the best way to carry out the strategy," Chairman Phillip Frost told a conference call with analysts on Wednesday without providing details.

Bernstein Research analyst Aaron Gal said Levin's departure calls into question whether Teva is operating in the classic model where the CEO runs the company and the board's role is to select, compensate and supervise.

"If the decision-making power is driven more by the board, than any new CEO would struggle with the situation," said Gal, who lowered his price target for Teva to $43 from $47.

Ori Hershkovitz, managing partner at Sphera Global Healthcare Fund, said Frost, not Levin, was running Teva.   Continued...