Phillip Frost, the chairman of generic drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals, announced on Wednesday that he would be resigning a year before his term ends. In a letter to shareholders, Frost stated that he intends to step down by the end of the year.
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The company’s shares responded to the news by rallying on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The announcement came in the invitation to the company’s annual shareholders assembly.
In addition, Chaim Hurvitz, one of the company’s founders, and Dan Suesskind, the company’s former VP-finances, will not be continuing on the company’s board, according to the invitation. Their terms end at the end of the year. The invitation states that they are not interested in continuing for another term.
Frost indicated as early as February that he might resign, stating as much in an interview with Bloomberg. His term was supposed to end in 2015. In that interview, he cited his age – 77 - as a factor.
Frost joined Teva in 2006 as a board member, after the drug giant bought control of Frost’s company Ivax for $7.4 billion. Frost was appointed board chairman in 2010 in place of long-term chairman Eli Hurvitz, who resigned due to his declining health. Hurvitz has since passed away. Frost is also Teva’s only single major shareholder, with 1.5% of the company’s shares, worth $650 million.
Frost was also responsible for the appointment of Teva’s previous CEO Jeremy Levin in January 2012, in place of Shlomo Yanai. He was also behind the board’s move to push Levin to resign seven months ago as relations between the two worsened. That move drew sharp criticism from shareholders regarding the composition and functioning of the board. Some of this criticism involved the sour relations between the board and Levin. Current CEO Erez Vigodman was appointed in Levin’s place.
Frost’s deputy, Amir Elstein, is a candidate to replace him. Elstein confirmed that he is a candidate. He is apparently the only board member in the running for Frost’s post.