* Frost was due to step down in about a year
* Jean-Michel Halfon nominated to board
* Teva shares up 0.7 percent in New York
(Adds details, background, share reaction)
TEL AVIV, June 18 Phillip Frost, chairman of the
world's biggest generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
, said on Wednesday he will step down by the end of
"With the progress we have made, and continue to make, at
Teva, I have advised the board that I believe it will be
appropriate for me to step down as chairman approximately by the
end of this year," Florida-based Frost said in a letter to
shareholders of Israel-based Teva. "Our corporate
governance and nominating committee is working on a succession
Frost, the largest individual shareholder in Teva with a
1.53 percent stake worth $752 million, was due to retire in
about a year from now.
A clash between Frost and other board members led to the
abrupt departure in October of former CEO Jeremy Levin, who was
replaced by turnaround specialist Erez Vigodman. Analysts said
divisions within the board over the direction of Teva wreaked
havoc on the company in recent years.
TheMarker financial news website said Teva's vice chairman,
Amir Elstein, was a candidate to replace Frost.
Frost said the size of Teva's board has been reduced by a
net two members, to 13 from 15. In January, Frost said Teva
planned to reduce the size of its board and add new members with
global healthcare experience.
The board has proposed for election to the board Jean-Michel
Halfon, a leading pharmaceutical industry executive with over 35
years of experience, including in emerging markets, an area
where Teva is seeking to expand. Halfon spent 32 years at Pfizer
Frost reiterated that contrary to the company's practice
over the past decade, Vigodman, who was a member of the board
before becoming CEO, will continue to be a member going forward.
Teva shares were up 0.7 percent to $51.83 in early New York
(Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)