Healthcare experience wins Peterburg Teva's chairman job

Teva ($TEVA), whose board composition has stirred up some recent shareholder activism, has picked its next chairman. And investors pushing for more experienced leadership may be pleased with his resume.

Incoming Teva Chairman Yitzhak Peterburg

Current boardmember Yitzhak Peterburg will step in Jan. 1 for controversial chairman Phillip Frost, who over the summer announced he'd be leaving his post amid a boardroom revamp. Unlike his predecessor, Peterburg has some experience in the pharma and healthcare spaces: Before joining Teva's board nearly three years ago, he served as the company's VP of global branded products and helmed Clalit Health Services, Israel's leading healthcare provider.

"After an extensive international search, the board determined that Yitzhak is best placed to provide the leadership and vision we need to strengthen Teva's position as a global player in the pharmaceutical industry," Frost said in a statement. "His vast experience and deep understanding of Teva and its potential, as well as his extensive experience in running large healthcare systems, make Yitzhak an excellent choice to succeed me as chairman at this juncture in the company's transformation for the future."

Indeed, that experience won Peterburg the job over candidates like Vice Chairman Amir Elstein, Chaim Hurvitz, son of late Teva skipper Eli Hurvitz, told Israeli newspaper Globes. While all the prospects for the chairman's job had managed large organizations, Peterburg was "especially relevant" to the position, he said.

A lack of industry know-how among Teva leadership has recently angered some shareholders of the Petah Tikvah-based company, particularly after squabbles between Frost and former CEO Jeremy Levin sent the industry vet packing. Late last year, rebel investor Benny Landa demanded a smaller, more experienced leadership slate, and so far, Teva has responded.

Aside from shrinking the board, the generics giant has also brought on some pharma-seasoned directors. After recruiting longtime Pfizer ($PFE) exec Jean-Michel Halfon, Teva said last week it had appointed Dr. Sol Barer, former exec chairman, CEO and president at booming biotech Celgene ($CELG).

- read Teva's release
- get more from Globes

Special Report: Top 10 Generics Makers by 2012 Revenue - Teva