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Erez Vigodman Appointment As Teva CEO By Next Week

Teva’s board is due to meet within days to approve Erez Vigodman’s appointment as CEO.
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Erez Vigodman, 54, a board member at  Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), will probably appoint the new CEO of the world’s largest generic drug maker company. Other finalists for the job are Eyal Desheh, Teva’s acting chief executive and longtime chief financial officer, and Austrian Ratiopharm GmbH and Actavis Inc leader, Claudio Albrecht.

Mr. Vigodman has been a Teva board member since 2009 and served as the CEO of Agrochemicals maker Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd.  Before that, he was the CEO of food company Strauss Group Ltd. (TASE:STRS). Mr. Vigodman will appoint to the job that has been open since Jeremy Levin abruptly left Teva in October 2013, as a result of “light” disagreements with the board.

Among the tasks ahead Mr. Vigodman needs to lead Teva’s ship through hard times, as the company expected competition for its flagship product, the Copaxone for multiple-sclerosis therapy. Copaxone’s US patents expires in May 2014, and it contributes an estimated 50-70% of Teva’s profits. It accounted for $4 billion of  Teva’s $20 billion in 2012 sales but soon it will face competition mainly from low-cost generic drug makers from India. Teva’s net incomealready fell from $3.3 billion in 2010 to $1.9 billion in 2012.

Teva hired global headhunting firm Egon Zehnder for the search, and it has reviewed a large number of candidates for the job in the past few weeks.

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