Longtime Teva CFO Desheh could be next out the struggling drugmaker's door

Eyal Desheh
Eyal Desheh has served as Teva's CFO since 2008.

Yet another key Teva exec could be bowing out in the company’s time of need—and that’s CFO Eyal Desheh.

Desheh is expected to leave the drugmaker to take up the chairman role at financial services company Isracard, Israeli newspaper Calcalist reported Tuesday. A Teva spokeswoman said via email that the company does not comment on market rumors.

If Desheh does bid Teva farewell, it’ll mark the end of a long senior leadership role at the company. After earning Teva’s CFO spot in 2008, he later picked up an EVP title, and he held the chief exec reins between October 2013 and February 2014 in the wake of then-CEO Jeremy Levin’s ouster. Desheh even ran for the permanent skipper post, Calcalist notes, though he ultimately lost out to Levin successor Erez Vigodman.

A Desheh departure would also mark the third exit by a key exec over the last few months. February saw the end of Vigodman’s tenure, and his post has yet to be permanently filled. Just a couple months prior, generics CEO Siggi Olafsson jumped ship in a move that caught investors off guard.

If recent rumors hold any weight, thousands more staffers could follow the trio out the door. Late last month, Calcalist said Teva would be laying off up to 6,000 workers, a number the company denied. Teva "does not have a headcount target," a spokeswoman said at the time, though she did confirm the generics giant was “looking to reduce costs in our business in every area.”

The cost-cutting comes in response to a series of missteps at Teva. Struggles at the M&A table—including a Mexican generics deal gone seriously awry, as well as a whopper Allergan generics buy that investors weren’t keen on—have both swelled debt and compounded the company’s struggles with generics price erosion and a slower-than-expected launch pace.

Those debt issues may have put Desheh out of favor with Teva’s directors, Calcalist notes. Over the past couple of years, he’s taken his fair share of boardroom criticism over his management of the debt pileup.

Meanwhile, interim CEO Yitzhak Peterburg has pledged to do whatever he can to right the ship—including reviewing Teva's businesses. “We will leave no stone unturned,” he told investors on a recent conference call, noting that “we are here to fix what is not working." Potentially in that category: the company's women's health unit, which Bloomberg recently reported could be on the chopping block.