Last month, AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot made waves when he seemingly backed away from Teva’s top post. And it turns out he’s not the only industry veteran to have done so.
Jacqualyn Fouse, who formerly served as COO of Celgene—a company founded by interim Teva chairman Sol Barer—turned down Teva’s CEO slot after talks with the drugmaker, the Financial Times reported. As for Soriot, he took himself out of the running after Teva’s board had already approved him for the position.
Despite Teva’s executive-recruting record, though—which stands at least 0-for-2 in the six months since head honcho Erez Vigodman departed—the company is still committed to finding the best possible person from anywhere in the world to lead its turnaround, executives have stressed. And Thursday, Barer said he’d take as much time as he needed to get that done.
“I live, eat and sleep this, and while it is always great to do this in a rapid time, et cetera, six months is not a long time for—to look for a CEO,” he told investors on Teva’s second-quarter conference call.
Meanwhile, though, the company’s interim leaders have shaken things up in a big way in their efforts to stop the bleeding—and those efforts might turn off some potential candidates. Thursday, amid serious generics price erosion, the company said it would lay off 7,000 total workers, close 15 plants over this year and next, and exit 45 markets by the end of this year. It’s also planning to raise $2 billion in divestments, executives said as they slashed both 2017 guidance and the company’s dividend.
“What does this say about how much strategic input a new CEO will have? More to the point, how is this going to help recruit a top global executive?” RBC Capital Markets analyst Randall Stanicky wrote in a note following Teva’s February announcement that it would begin reviewing its businesses.
And beyond that, the remaining work necessary to achieve a turnaround doesn’t look all that appealing, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal told the FT.
“You’re taking a company in financial crisis with a lot of debt, which is no fun, and you’re going to have to cut costs dramatically, which no one likes to do,” he said.