Landa calls for Teva board leadership changes

In an email to investors seen by the "Financial Times," printing pioneer Benny Landa hints he is seeking to oust Teva chairman Phillip Frost.

The "Financial Times" has revealed details of an email reportedly sent by Israeli entrepreneur Benny Landa to leading Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) that was designed to "shake up" the board of directors. In the email, he called for "significant board leadership changes," which can be seen as a broad hint threatening the position of Teva chairman Dr. Phillip Frost.

Landa is looking for change in the wake of the firing of Dr. Jeremy Levin as CEO in October following differences of opinion with Frost. The capital market did not like Frost's aggressive intervention following Levin's ouster and sent the share price plunging. Teva will soon appoint a new CEO and "Globes" has revealed it will be Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd. CEO Erez Vigodman.

In the email Landa attempts to rally major shareholders (US funds with major Teva holdings) to lead a campaign for the reduction of the number of directors on Teva's board from 16 to 12 with more experienced directors in global pharmaceuticals. He also wants to change the company's constitution so that a lower majority than the current 85% is required to change directors.

In the email he wrote, "I don’t know if this board is able to attract a world class CEO to lead Teva, but with higher standards of corporate governance and a pharma-seasoned board of directors, at least the new CEO will stand a better chance than his predecessor!”

He also said that he had spoken with incoming deputy chairman Amir Elstein and that there had been a "meeting of minds" and that the former Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO) chairman had promised to push forward with the changes asked for by Landa this month.

Teva said, "There have been no talks with institutional investors on behalf of the company's board of directors."

Landa declined to comment to the "Financial Times" on his initiative. He also wrote in his email, " “I am greatly relieved that Teva’s board appears ready to make these bold moves, which, hopefully, will restore investor confidence not only in Teva but also in Israel.”

Landa pioneered digital printing through Indigo which he sold to HP for $830 million in 2003. He is now pioneering nanotechnology printing through Landa Nanographic Printing Ltd.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 2, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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