The new president and chief executive officer of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Kåre Schultz, will take his position at the company on November 1, the Israeli drugmaker said. The firm is scheduled to report its third quarter financial results a day later.
As announced in September, Schultz will succeed Yitzhak Peterburg, who was serving as interim CEO since Erez Vigodman stepped down in February after failing to turn around the fortunes of the world’s largest maker of generic medications.
“Kåre Schultz joining is the start of a new chapter at Teva,” said Sol Barer, chairman of Teva’s board of directors, in a statement issued late Monday. “Kåre has extensive global pharmaceutical experience and a strong track record in corporate turnarounds, as well as in driving growth and leading international expansion. Under Kåre’s leadership, we can position Teva for long-term success and deliver on our promises to shareholders, employees and patients around the world.”
Schultz, 56, will be tasked with setting up strategy, divesting assets, cutting its debt and restoring investor confidence at the firm, which has seen its New York traded shares dive some 67 percent in the past 12 months as the company struggled to find strategic direction.
Teva shares may see some rises from news of Schultz’s official start on Wednesday, Saar Golan, an equity trader at the Bank of Jerusalem Brokerage, wrote in a morning note to investors.
“The market has long awaited some leadership in the world’s largest maker of generic drugs,” Golan said. “Teva needs to deal with its high debt levels by continuing to offload non-core assets and perhaps raise capital — a possibility that makes investors nervous.”
As of June 30, the company’s debt was $35.1 billion.
One of the new CEO’s first and key missions will be to oversee and implement Teva’s merger with Actavis, a deal that is expected to generate some $1.4 billion in synergies and tax savings by the end of 2019, Teva has said. He will also have to pick a direction for Teva — whether to focus on the production of generic drugs, a sector which has suffered from price cuts due to increased competition, or to develop its own branded drugs, like it did with the blockbuster Copaxone medication for multiple sclerosis.
“I am looking forward to getting to work as Teva’s CEO alongside the Teva team,” Schultz said in the statement. “I look forward to traveling throughout Teva’s global operations and reviewing the opportunities we have to better serve patients and healthcare systems in each of our markets. My focus will be on strengthening Teva’s business and enhancing our leadership in specialty and generic medicines to deliver sustained shareholder value creation.”
Barer thanked Yitzhak Peterburg for taking on the interim leadership role “at a particularly challenging time.”
Effective Wednesday Schultz will also join Teva’s board of directors, the statement said.
Schultz has a nearly 30-year career in global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and most recently served as the president and CEO of Denmark’s H. Lundbeck A/S, where he led restructuring initiatives and launched a turnaround strategy.