July 31, 2014 / 1:25 PM / 4 years ago

Teva Pharm shareholder optimistic of change despite losing vote

JERUSALEM, July 31 (Reuters) - Israeli industrialist Benny Landa said his campaign to improve corporate governance at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries was delivering results, despite losing a shareholder vote at the world’s largest generic drugmaker.

Landa, an outspoken critic of Teva’s board in recent months who believes it should be replaced with “pharma seasoned” executives, said on Thursday his message had been received “loud and clear” by management and he now felt more optimistic about the company’s future.

“The attitude of Teva’s board was palpably changed by the process we all went through this past month,” he wrote in a letter to shareholders, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

“There was even open-mindedness regarding the need to bolster Teva’s board with big-pharma experienced directors and I expect that we will see some board-led initiatives in that direction in the coming months.”

Landa, who owns a small stake in Teva, had mounted a campaign that called on fellow shareholders to reject the re-election of board member Ori Slonim, as well as to vote against a resolution authorising purchase of liability insurance for directors and officers.

But shareholders on Wednesday approved all of the company’s proposals and board nominations, including re-electing Slonim.

Landa noted that Teva announced the detailed voting results for the first time, indicating it was becoming more transparent.

He said time would tell if he was over-optimistic. “But ... I came away from (Wednesday’s) annual general meeting much more confident in Teva’s future,” he said.

“If the board’s words become action, we should see these changes translate into real shareholder value - which would indeed make today a great victory for Teva shareholders.”

Teva earlier in 2014 named turnaround specialist Erez Vigodman as chief executive to replace former Bristol-Myers Squibb executive Jeremy Levin.

The company’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which is injected, faces competition from oral treatments as well as cheaper generics in coming years. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Mark Potter)

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