After seven long months of searching, Teva finally has its new CEO—and as the company hinted it would, it’s poached him from another drugmaker.
Lundbeck head honcho Kåre Schultz, a longtime Novo Nordisk vet, will be stepping in, and Teva hopes he can spur the sort of turnaround he’s engineered at Lundbeck since taking the helm there in 2015.
Since he left the queue for Novo Nordisk's CEO position to move over to Lundbeck, Schultz has gotten the Danish drugmaker back on track—something Teva, which recently announced a major hit to its dividend and the year’s second big guidance-slashing—desperately needs. Within a year of Schultz’s arrival at Lundbeck, profits were exceeding expectations, and revenue was on the rise, too.
One reason? A big, Schultz-initiated restructuring that claimed 1,000 jobs. And while Schultz doesn’t have the level of cost-cutting experience that comes along with running a Big Pharma—the way one-time Teva CEO prospect Pascal Soriot does—it’s cost-cutting experience nonetheless. And Teva, which last month said it would be laying off 7,000 people, had indicated it was looking for just that.
The appointment ends a search process during which the struggling generics giant promised to recruit “the absolute best person from anywhere” and seemingly waive the requirement for its CEO to live in Israel. Schultz, though, will be relocating to Teva’s home country, the company said in a statement. Interim CEO Yitzhak Peterburg, meanwhile, will step down when Schultz arrives.
“With extensive global pharmaceutical experience, a strong track record executing corporate turnaround strategies, driving growth and international expansion at low incremental cost and delivering on promises to shareholders, as well as a commitment to a culture of compliance, Kåre is the right leader to take Teva to the next level,” Teva Chairman Sol Barer said in a statement.
While Peterburg has presided over a number of key decisions during his interim post—including the layoffs and decisions to put assets such as women’s health on the block—Schultz will still have plenty of his own to make. For one, Barer told investors in February that it would be up to the new CEO to decide whether Teva should split its generics and specialty businesses, a prospect that analysts have pressed.