Teva Pharma denies report CEO mulling resignation over rift

Reuters

JERUSALEM, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has denied an Israeli media report that Chief ExecutiveJeremy Levin was considering resigning due to a rift with thecompany's board of directors.

"These are baseless claims," Israel-based Teva, the world'slargest generic drugmaker, said in an emailed statement onMonday.

Channel 2 television quoted unnamed sources as saying therewere strong differences of opinion between Levin and ChairmanPhillip Frost over the implementation of Teva's new strategy.

Levin took the helm of Teva in May 2012 after thecompany had grown rapidly through acquisitions. He promised toreshape the company by developing its own medicines, amidincreasing competition in the generics market, and to divestbusinesses in non-core areas.

Earlier this month, Teva said it would cut 5,000 jobs - 10percent of its workforce - accelerating a cost-cutting plan asit prepares for lower-priced competition to its best-sellingmultiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

According to Channel 2, Teva's management wrote a letter tothe board saying that "although we are in the initial stages ofimplementing our strategy, the lack of unity among the board ofdirectors and CEO hurts our ability to make the necessarychanges."

It urged the board to "reconsider its intervention in thedaily course of business that we believe has become common inrecent months and prevents management from being able to manageTeva effectively," Channel 2 said.

It noted that part of the problem stemmed from conflictingideas of laying off workers in Israel. Under the plan, hundredsof Israeli employees were set to lose their jobs but underpressure from the government and a trade union, Levin agreed tocoordinate any reductions with the union and state.

Levin's aides claim, according to Channel 2, that Frost istrying to push him out and that in recent days Levin wasconsidering retiring if the situation continues.

Teva said Levin and Frost continue to work together.

"All decisions made by the company's management, led by itsCEO, have been made with consultation and agreement of the board," Teva added.

Shares of Tel Aviv-listed Teva were down 0.75 percent atmidday in a flat broader market.

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