Teva's turnaround CEO sets sights on $40 billion mega-deal

Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:50am EDT
 
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By Tova Cohen and Steven Scheer

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli turnaround specialist Erez Vigodman, the chief executive of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.N: Quote), is looking to pull off the ultimate transformation with the biggest deal in Israel's corporate history.

His unsolicited $40 billion offer for smaller generic drug rival Mylan Inc (MYL.O: Quote) is Vigodman's attempt to turn Teva into a global drug powerhouse with a $100 billion market valuation, a far cry from its start as a small wholesale drug business in Jerusalem more than a century ago.

Despite having no pharmaceutical experience, Vigodman, 55, was hired by Teva in February last year after he had turned around MA Industries, an Israeli agro-chemicals group. A certified public accountant and graduate of the program of management development at Harvard's business school, he was tasked with cutting costs and improving profits in the face of rising competition.

"He is a change agent with an impressive strategic mindset and a proven ability to execute restructuring programs," Teva board member Amir Elstein has said of Vigodman.

At MA Industries, today called Adama, Vigodman restored profitability and invested in growth areas.

In 2010 he tried to buy U.S.-based Albaugh for $1 billion but when analysts and investors criticized the high price, Vigodman pulled the offer.

Instead, in 2011 he orchestrated a reverse merger with China National Chemical Corp, giving MA access to China.

Prior to that, during his tenure as CEO of Strauss Group from 2001-2009, sales at Israel's second-largest food company more than doubled.   Continued...

 
A sign bearing the logo of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seen in its Jerusalem oral solid dosage plant (OSD) December 21, 2011. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun