Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) announced last night that CEO Erez Vigodman has resigned. He will be replaced as interim president and CEO by Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg, who has served as Chairman of the Teva Board of Directors since January 2015.
Regarding Vigodman's unexpected departure, Teva said, "This follows the mutual agreement between the Board of Teva and Erez Vigodman that Mr. Vigodman is stepping down. Mr. Vigodman’s service on the Teva Board of Directors has also ended."
“I believe that now is the right time for me to step down,” said Vigodman. “It has been a privilege to lead Teva, and I am proud of all we have accomplished. I am confident that the company’s future is bright.”
Vigodman's sudden departure is unexpected but not entirely surprising. The world's largest generic pharmaceutical company has suffered a string of setbacks over the past year, which has seen it lose 40% of its share price. Some of the problems are shared by its generic rivals as the US government presses for lower drug prices. Others are specific to Teva including complaints that the company overpaid in the $40 billion acquisition of Actavis, and was duped in the $2.3 billion acquisition of Mexican company Rimsa. Teva has also been forced to pay antitrust fines in the US and last week lost a crucial patent case in the US on 40mg Copaxone, its flagship branded product.
In accordance with Israeli companies law, Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg has stepped down as chairman in order to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer. The board has elected Dr. Sol J. Barer, who has been a member of the Teva board since January 2015, as chairman.
Teva's board of directors is undertaking a search to identify a permanent CEO with the assistance of a search firm.
Dr. Peterburg said, “The Company is focusing on executing its strategic priorities to transform Teva, with immediate focus on realizing the cost synergies and strategic benefits of the Actavis Generics acquisition. I look forward to working with the entire Teva team to conduct a thorough review of the business to find additional opportunities to enhance value for shareholders. Teva has a deep bench of talented leaders and today’s announcement has no impact on our ability to execute going forward. With the strength of our generics pipeline, unique R&D capabilities and unparalleled footprint, coupled with our existing assets and growing pipeline in specialty medicines, I believe in Teva and the Company’s long-term growth prospects.”
Dr. Barer said, “We are grateful to Yitzhak for taking on the role of interim CEO. Teva’s Board of Directors, with its decades of collective pharmaceutical industry experience, will continue to play an active role in driving the Company’s strategy, and I look forward to working with the management team to execute on the value creation opportunities ahead. We intend to conduct a comprehensive search to identify the best person to lead the Company for years to come. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Erez for his many contributions to Teva over the years and wish him well in the future.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 7, 2017
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