Shakeup Not Over at Teva

YERUSHALAYIM -

Heads may not have finished rolling at Teva, the troubled pharmaceutical giant.

CEO Dr. Jeremy Levin was ousted in October following differences of opinion with Teva chairman Dr. Phillip Frost. Now Frost’s own job is in jeopardy.

The British Financial Times revealed details of an email, reportedly sent by Israeli entrepreneur Benny Landa, aimed at a “shake up” of the board of directors. In the email, a call for “significant board leadership changes” has been construed as a shot at Frost.

The capital market reacted badly to Frost’s aggressive intervention after Levin left and  the share price plunged. Teva will soon appoint a new CEO, which Globes said will be  Makhteshim Agan Industries CEO Erez Vigodman. The announcement is expected in early February.

In the email, Landa wrote, “I don’t know if this board is able to attract a world class CEO to lead Teva, but with higher standards of corporate governance and a pharma-seasoned board of directors, at least the new CEO will stand a better chance than his predecessor!”

Landa would not comment on the Financial Times story.

Landa pioneered digital printing through Indigo, which he sold to HP for $830 million in 2003, and has since moved on to nanotechnology printing with Landa Nanographic Printing.

Citi analyst Liav Abraham offered praise for the “turnaround” talents of Levin’s putative successor:

“Vigodman is the CEO of Makhteshim Agan, Israel’s largest agrochemicals company. Prior to this, he served as the CEO of the Strauss Group, one of Israel’s largest food companies,” Abraham said. “Mr. Vigodman’s experience at Makhteshim Agan includes a turnaround of the company and a sale of its controlling stake to ChemChina.”

Abraham added, “Although investors may express some skepticism if Vigodman is selected due to his lack of experience in the pharma industry, we note his successful record in the execution of turnaround strategies at large publicly traded companies, which is relevant for Teva, as the company faces the loss of exclusivity of Copaxone and implementation of an extensive $2 billion cost reduction program.”