A show of solidarity

Startup CEOs invite Teva workers to join their ranks

Israeli drug-maker announces thousands of layoffs of Israeli employees in massive reorganization

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

The Jerusalem office of the Israeli drug company Teva Pharmaceuticals (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The Jerusalem office of the Israeli drug company Teva Pharmaceuticals (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The managers of seven Israeli high-tech startup companies called on the thousands of employees of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. who are set to be fired in a massive restructuring of the Israeli drug-maker announced Thursday afternoon to join their ranks.

“Like all Israelis, we have awakened to a reality” of Teva’s expected layoffs, the CEOs of the seven startup companies said in their letter to Teva employees. They lauded Teva as an icon of Israeli industry, “perhaps the most Israeli company that has grown here in recent decades,” but assured the company’s nervous workers that “we believe all endings represent a new beginning.”

The letter, by the heads of startups Yotpo, Kaltura, Payoneer, Cortica, Bidalgo, Inneractive, Wibbitz and Windward, suggests responding positively to the dramatic disruption.

“Some of us were also made redundant over the years from high tech companies, and sometimes this leads you to think differently,” the CEOs wrote. It can force people to get out of their “comfort zone” and think about maximizing their potential.

“So, we are proposing that you check out what is happening with Israeli startups.”

Teva’s management is set to announce a massive reorganization plan that is expected to include the cutting of as many as 3,300 jobs in the company’s Israeli factories. The plan, to be formally announced at 2 p.m. Tel Aviv time, is meant to jump-start the recovery of the ailing Israeli drug-making giant, which has been suffering financially from price cuts in its generics business and sooner-than-expected competition to its flagship branded drug, Copaxone, for multiple sclerosis.

The Histadrut labor union on Wednesday called a general strike throughout the country for Sunday morning over the expected announcement.

According to the CEOs, Israeli high-tech is “thirsty to recruit hundreds of thousands of new workers” in a variety of positions across the industry, including R&D workers and programmers, sales and management professionals, account managers and marketing experts.

“Whoever wants to be part of something Israeli, big, and influential over time is invited to turn to us,” the CEOs said.

Also on Thursday, Israel’s Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization that tracks the Israeli high-tech industry, compiled a list of 100 Israeli pharmaceutical startups that could perhaps help absorb some of the thousands of Teva employees being axed.

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