Teva Pharmaceutical chief exec resigns after denying departure

City A.M. Reporter
TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, said yesterday that its chief executive Jeremy Levin was stepping down and finance chief Eyal Desheh would stand in on an interim basis, effective immediately.

Earlier this week, Teva and Levin denied an Israeli media report that Levin was considering resigning due to a rift with the company’s board of directors over Teva’s strategy.

Levin took the helm of Israel-based Teva in May 2012, promising to reshape the company by developing its own medicines amid increasing competition in the generics market, and to divest businesses in non-core areas.

Earlier this month, Teva said it would cut 5,000 jobs – 10 per cent of its workforce – accelerating a cost-cutting plan as it prepares for lower-priced competition to its best-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

“We have had different views on the best way to carry out the strategy,” chairman Phillip Frost told a conference call with analysts yesterday without providing details.

Levin joined Teva from Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he was vice president for strategy, alliances and transactions. At Bristol-Myers, Levin implemented a so-called string of pearls strategy of alliances, partnerships and acquisitions with small and large companies.

Teva’s board has formed a committee to search for a permanent successor for Levin.

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