Updated: Teva picks former Sandoz head as new CEO to replace Kåre Schultz
Teva has tapped the former CEO of Sandoz, Richard Francis, to lead the Israeli generics giant, replacing current CEO Kåre Schultz.
Francis led Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, for five years from 2014 to 2019, leaving as Novartis began making plans to spin out the unit. It’s been a challenging several years for generics companies, which have seen supply chains disrupted, pressure on how much they can charge for drugs, and stock prices in decline.
Francis will take over on Jan. 1 as Schultz steps down, Teva said in a press release Monday announcing the news. Schultz’s agreement with the company had him in the CEO role until November of next year, though the company started a search for a new leader about a year ago as the CEO began to confirm that he intended to step down when his employment agreement ended. Teva started a search and reached a deal with Francis relatively quickly, and the two sides agreed to make the change sooner, said Teva spokesperson Kelley Dougherty.
“The board is delighted to have found the ideal leader for the next phase in Teva’s exciting journey to return to growth and leadership,” board chairman Sol Barer said in the release.
Schultz led Teva through a number of challenges, including opioids lawsuits in the US, generic drug price-fixing allegations and business headwinds across the portfolio of generic and brand-name products. The company has reported a loss in three out of the last four quarters.
Francis left Sandoz in 2019 for what Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan at the time called “personal reasons.” Novartis had announced plans a few months prior to sell part of Sandoz’s US division, and the company was beginning to separate the generics unit’s operations from the parent company, according to Reuters. Novartis then announced in August it would officially spin out the business.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more background on Schultz’s retirement.