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Change at the top at Teva as Vigodman departs

CEO replaced ad interim by chairman Yitzhak Peterburg as search begins
Teva

Teva's chief executive Erez Vigodman is quitting after three years at the helm, saying "now is the right time for me to step down".

Vigodman is also standing down from Teva's board of directors - effective immediately - and will be replaced on an interim basis by Teva's chairman Yitzhak Peterburg, formerly head of branded products at the company, while the search for a permanent CEO goes on.

The decision to part company was "by mutual agreement", according to a statement from the Israeli drugmaker, which saw its share price slide as the news emerged.

Vigodman's relatively short tenure has raised eyebrows, particularly among shareholders who pointed to a lack of pharma industry experience when he joined the company from agrochemicals firm Makhteshim Agan Industries in 2014.

The unexpected departure also comes at a tricky time for Teva, which has lost patent protection for the original formulation of cash cow product Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) for multiple sclerosis and is struggling to absorb an Actavis generics unit it bought for around $40bn last year.

The company's expanded generics business has not performed as well as expected and suffered a further hit towards the end of last year with the shock resignation of unit head Sigurdur Olafsson, one of the architects of the takeover.

Peterburg said the "immediate focus" is "realising the cost synergies and strategic benefits of the Actavis generics acquisition".

Adding to the company's pain, Teva suffered a defeat in the US courts on a newer three-times-a-week version of Copaxone just last week, although the company has said it plans to appeal that decision. It has also become embroiled in the federal investigation in the US into possible generic drug price-fixing and was hit by a $519m fine in December for mis-promoting Copaxone in Russia, Ukraine and Mexico.

Teva has elected Sol Barer as chairman, saying he brings "deep knowledge of the global pharmaceutical industry". Barer was a founder of the biotechnology group at Celanese - later spun off as Celgene - where he served as both chairman and CEO.

Article by
Phil Taylor

7th February 2017

From: Sales

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