Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced Wednesday that its president and CEO for the past two years, Jeremy Levin, has agreed to step down.
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The company, which is the world's largest manufacturer of generic drugs, said that on an interim basis, the top spot would be filled by Eyal Desheh, Teva's executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Trading in shares of Teva were halted following the announcement of Levin's departure, and once trading resumed, the stock plummeted by 8 percent.
Just days before, Levin had denied a report by Channel 2 that he was considering resigning.
Since I joined Teva, we have made tremendous progress in setting a new course for the company, Levin said following his resignation. "I wish the company and its people, who I respect greatly, every success. I look forward to pursuing new opportunities where I can continue to apply my experience and contribute to the evolution of the global pharmaceutical industry.
Levin's departure follows a rift between company management and its board following public criticism of Teva for plans to lay off 5,000 worldwide and over tax incentives the firm received in Israel. Channel 2 also reported that management at Teva had sent a letter last week to the board in which it took the board to task for what it said was interference in the running of the company.
While the company said the departure was by agreement, Levin said on Channel 10 television that he did not want to leave the company and would have been happy to continue in his position.