Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd’s (TEVA) appointment of industry veteran Kaare Schultz as its new chief executive officer has gone down well with investors. Shares in the world’s largest maker of generic drugs surged 8 percent in Tel Aviv trading to 58.89 shekels, suggesting that markets are relieved that the Israeli-based company has finally found a new CEO and are confident Shultz is the right man to turn around the struggling business.
In a statement, Teva confirmed that Schultz will replace Yitzhak Peterburg, who took over the CEO job on an interim basis following the departure of Erez Vigodman in February. Schultz will be tasked with reviving revenues and reducing debt at the company.
Teva executives described Schultz as a “seasoned veteran” with "a distinguished, nearly thirty-year career in global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.” (See also: AstraZeneca Falls After Report Says Its CEO Is Leaving for Teva.)
“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, Kaare is the right leader to take Teva to the next level,” said Dr. Sol J. Barer, chairman of Teva’s board of directors. “Kaare has deep insight into the global pharmaceutical industry and a keen knowledge of the generic and specialty drug markets. His proven strategic, financial and operational capabilities and his strong commitment to growth will enhance value for all stakeholders and position Teva for long-term success.”
When Schultz’s predecessor, Vigodman, left Teva back in February, the company’s stock was languishing at a 12-year low, driven in part by pricing pressures on generic drugs and legal challenges to its best-selling patented drug. Since then trading has continued to be volatile, forcing the company to lower its profit guidance and slash its dividend.
Teva’s difficulties have been intensified by the state of its balance sheet. The company is saddled with more than $32 billion of debt, leaving it with little room for error as it deals with pricing pressures in the United States. (See also: Is Teva Pharmaceutical Stock Finally Bottoming Out?)
Investors will be hoping that Schultz can find a solution. Since joining Lundbeck as CEO in 2015, Schultz embarked on a cost-cutting strategy to boost profits. The Danish pharmaceutical company’s share price has more than tripled during his tenure.
Prior to joining Lundbeck, Schultz looked poised to take over the CEO job at the world’s largest diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk (NVO). However, his former employer opted to extend the tenure of Rebien Sorensen instead, causing Schultz to be demoted and prompting his departure.