After Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) today named Kåre Schultz as its new CEO, Teva chairman Dr. Sol Barer spoke to "Globes" about the appointment.
Globes: What did you see in Schultz?
"We said several times in our recent conference calls what talents we were seeking in a CEO. This is a tough time for Teva, and we wanted to make sure that we would bring in the right person. We said we wanted a leader with extensive pharma experience, and Schultz has that - thirty years of experience. He has global experience - in the US, Europe, the Far East; he is known for his operating experience. What is very important is that he has turnaround experience. When he came to Lundbeck the company was in a challenging financial situation, and he did terrific work there, and raised the company's guidance several times. It's an almost legendary success story.
"It's also important that Schultz has high credibility among all the stakeholders, at a time when we are rebuilding our credibility at Teva. Ultimately, Schultz meets just about every criterion we set. Above all, he has experience both in generics and in specialty drugs, and he is capable of formulating a strategy for them. All in all, he's the ideal person for the job, and I'm very excited about that."
When will Schultz join Teva?
"He's working on a few things at Lundbeck and then he'll join us. I can't give precise timing. Because of his sense of commitment, he doesn't want to leave things unfinished. He'll finalize them and come to us."
In the announcement, you wrote that "Schultz has developed a unique perspective overseeing generic and specialty drug portfolios." What do you mean by that?
"He has a unique understanding of generics and specialty drugs when it comes to the value chain and customer service. He can analyze each of these activities and neither is new to him. In that sense, he has an advantage."
Was it hard to persuade first-rate pharma industry candidates to come to Teva, in the light of the company's current position?
"That's a good question, but I have to say that we had excellent candidates, drawn by the company's resources: its global spread, the fact that it reaches 250 million customers daily, its importance on the global health scene, its extensive production and distribution networks, and so on, as well as the fact that it represents a challenge. People very much wanted to part of this, and saw Teva both as a challenge and as an opportunity. We were fortunate in having several candidates, and Schultz was ideal."
What do you expect him to change at Teva, let's say in his first year in the post?
"That's a question worth asking him, but of course there are several challenges. There is a strategic challenge and an operational challenge, and I expect to see his impact on both of them. There's a commercial challenge, and one of the main challenges, if not the main one, is the financial challenge. I presume that he will work on that substantially with the aim of making Teva financially strong, in order that we will be able to continue building the company. In any event, we are not waiting, and are already making progress on the operational side. He will join later and add his considerable experience to the process. I expect him to have substantial impact in each one of these areas."
Have you seen the response in the stock in Tel Aviv?
(Laughs) "The truth is that I haven't, because I was busy with phone calls. I have been in public companies a long time, and it's always better when the share price rises than when it falls, but that's a short-term matter. What's more important is that I look forward to long-term value creation for the shareholders, and I'm glad that they see Schultz's appointment as a positive step. He will take Teva to the next stage."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 11, 2017
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