UPDATE 1-Veteran Cephalon drug chief to retire

NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Cephalon Inc CEPH.O said on Friday Robert Roche Jr., who headed the company's global drug operations since 1995, will resign next month in order to pursue other longstanding interests.

Roche, who was promoted to senior vice president of worldwide pharmaceutical operations in 2000 and named an executive vice president in 2005, helped develop Cephalon into one of the country’s biggest biotechnology companies.

Its drugs, which have more than $2 billion in annual global sales, include narcolepsy treatments Nuvigil and Provigil. Its dozens of other products include pain and cancer treatments.

Cephalon said in a release that it would announce plans for its leadership and its commercial organization in the near future.

Company shares were down 0.7 percent to $63.06 in morning trading on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Derek Caney)