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BMS' Levin to take top spot at generics company Teva

Current president and chief executive Shlomo Yannai will step down in May

Jeremy Levin will leave Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) to take over as president and chief executive of generic pharma company Teva Pharmaceutical in May, following the departure of current CEO Shlomo Yanai.

Levin is currently senior vice president of strategy at BMS and will take the helm at Teva after 59-year-old Yanai retires from his position "to move onto a new phase in his career", according to a Teva statement.

Yanai has been president and CEO at Teva for five years, over which time revenues grew from $8.4bn to an estimated $22bn while the company diversified both geographically and in terms of its product portfolio with moves into biosimilars and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

He was the driving force behind Israel-headquartered Teva's $6.5bn acquisition of US speciality pharma company Cephalon last year, and also oversaw Teva's consumer health joint venture with Procter & Gamble.

Latterly Teva has come under pressure from competition to its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) from Novartis' orally-active rival Gilenya (fingolimod), a slowdown in new generic launches and a late-stage disappointment in its pipeline concerning oral MS candidate laquinimod.

In November, the company trimmed back its sales estimates for full-year 2011, and recently said it would be unlikely to meet its target of boosting sales to $31bn in 2015, but these factors are not thought to have prompted Yanai's decision to leave.

"Dr Levin has more than 25 years of experience in the global pharmaceuticals industry, leading companies and people in the creation, development and delivery of medicines," said Teva in a statement.

"He is recognised as a leader in creating commercial and R&D alliances," it added.

Levin has been with BMS since 2007, and formerly held senior positions at Novartis and Cadus Pharmaceuticals. He will be the first non-Israeli CEO at Teva.

3rd January 2012

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