Teva Pharma Appoints Novartis, Biogen Vet as New President and CEO


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Capping a tumultuous year of legal battles, Teva Pharmaceuticals has found a new president and CEO. Effective Jan. 1, 2023, Richard Francis will take the company's reins as Kåre Schultz retires.

The decision to look for a new company head was announced on Nov. 3., when Schultz's contract expired, and he decided not to renew it. This follows Teva's Sept. 8 announcement of plans to finalize an opioid settlement in the U.S. by the end of this year and to begin paying a proposed $4.35 billion settlement starting in 2023. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Schultz had always planned to retire at the age of 62, which he will turn in May. In addition, Schultz indicated his eldest daughter was expecting a baby, his first grandchild, and he wanted more time for family.

"That combination is motivating me to want to stop," Schultz said.

Schultz took over Teva in 2017 as the company, a leader in generic drugs, was seeing dropping profits, serious debt and falling stocks. He cut thousands of jobs and shuttered manufacturing facilities as it paid down its debt. He also directed Teva toward biologics and launched several new products, such as Ajovy, to prevent and treat migraines.

Schultz indicated he was unaware of the degree of the company's problems related to the opioid epidemic when he took on the job. 

The settlement will be spread over 13 years in a mix of cash and drugs, with about $100 million earmarked for Native American Tribes. The company's generic version of overdose medication Narcan is also part of the deal, at 20% of the $1.2 billion wholesale acquisition cost.

When Schultz came on in 2017, Teva shares ran about $14. When he took over, stock prices rose to as high as $24 before dropping. Teva's shares are currently running at $8.72 per share.

Closing a Difficult Chapter with New Leadership

Francis's previous position was CEO of Purespring Therapeutics and CEO of Forcefield Therapeutics. He is also an operating partner at Syncona Investment Management Limited.

Francis spent five years as CEO of Sandoz and was a member of the Novartis executive team. Before Sandoz, Francis was a senior executive at Biogen for 13 years. In 2013, he led the successful launch of Tecfidera, Biogen's multiple sclerosis drug.

In a press release, Francis said that he looks forward to leveraging his "background and years of pharmaceutical experience to build on Teva's strong fundamentals and to write the next exciting chapter for Teva, focusing on building a solid pathway to deliver long-term growth."

"This is the right time for a transition, and Richard's proven track record in the industry makes him the right person to serve as Teva's next CEO," Schultz said. 

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