|Teva Vice Chairman Amir Elstein--Courtesy of Teva|
Controversial Teva ($TEVA) chairman Phillip Frost may not be leaving until the end of this year, but the company already has its next chairman lined up. That's according to one of the company's activist investors. And he doesn't much like its pick.
Rebel shareholder Benny Landa says the Israeli generics giant will appoint Vice Chairman Amir Elstein to succeed Frost, Reuters reports. "I was informed ... by Moshe Many, Amir Elstein's predecessor as vice chairman, that the board has already decided that it will name Amir Elstein as the next chairman," he wrote in a blog.
The company, on the other hand, says it hasn't made a decision yet. A spokesman told the news service that Many and his fellow board member Yossi Nitzani are leading a committee in the selection process.
Landa has been right before. Late last year, after board squabbling reportedly drove out then-CEO Jeremy Levin and ignited investor fury, he told shareholders that Teva's directors would propose some of his recommended board changes--namely, cutting down its size and upping its pharma experience level.
|Teva Chairman Dr. Phillip Frost--Courtesy of Teva|
Sure enough, a few weeks later, the Petah Tikva-based drugmaker pledged a revamp. Frost has since proposed Pfizer ($PFE) vet Jean-Michel Halfon for election, reduced the size of the board by two members--and announced his own exit.
"With the progress we have made, and continue to make, at Teva, I have advised the board that I believe it will be appropriate for me to step down as chairman," he told shareholders last month.
Despite that progress, Landa is none too pleased with Teva's supposed choice of Elstein. "[T]here appears to be no limit to this board's disregard for proper corporate governance and its disdain for shareholder views or interests," he wrote in his blog (as seen by Reuters).
In return, Landa is taking matters into his own hands: Along with Ruth Cheshin, a member of Teva's founding family, Landa is leading a proxy fight expected to heat up at the company's general shareholders' meeting later this month, Reuters notes.
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