April 26, 2017 / 2:18 PM / 2 years ago

Finance chief quits drugmaker Teva, leaving another gap at top

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ finance chief Eyal Desheh will step down in the next few months after nearly a decade in the job, the second top official to resign from the Israel-based company this year.

FILE PHOTO: A building belonging to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's biggest generic drugmaker and Israel's largest company, is seen in Jerusalem February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

“Yesterday, I celebrated my 65th birthday and I’m transitioning into the next phase of my career,” Desheh said on Wednesday, without elaborating.

Israeli media reported on Tuesday that Desheh is likely to be appointed as chairman of Isracard, the credit card unit of Bank Hapoalim, the country’s largest bank, which said there were a number of candidates.

Teva said it would immediately start a search for a new CFO, but that Desheh will take part in the company’s first-quarter earnings call on May 11.

Teva was left without a permanent chief executive in February after Erez Vigodman stepped down, leaving new management to restore confidence in the world’s biggest generic drugmaker after a series of missteps.

A string of costly acquisitions, along with delayed drug launches, have sent Teva shares plummeting and led to calls for management and structural changes, including a possible split into separate generic and branded medicine units.

That forced former Vigodman to step down, with Chairman Yitzhak Peterburg replacing him on a temporary basis and Sol Barer taking the reins as chairman.

“My highest priority is to identify and appoint Teva’s next chief executive officer,” Barer said. “We expect the company’s new CEO to have a significant role in identifying Eyal’s successor.”

Desheh served as deputy CFO from 1989 to 1996 before becoming CFO of Scitex and then Check Point Software Technologies. He returned as Teva’s CFO in 2008 and was acting CEO from October 2013 to February 2014.

Investors say Teva, which faces pricing pressure in its core generics business and faces competition on its key branded drug Copaxone for multiple sclerosis, must choose a new CEO with extensive pharmaceutical experience.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; editing by Alexander Smith

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