Will AstraZeneca's CEO Leave for Teva? Credit Suisse Doesn't Think So

Will AstraZeneca's CEO Leave for Teva? Credit Suisse Doesn't Think So

Will AstraZeneca's CEO Leave for Teva? Credit Suisse Doesn't Think So

Shares in drugs giant AstraZeneca have fallen following a report that its chief executive, Pascal Soriot, is to leave to company to join Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

The Israeli financial website, the Calcalist, reported that Soriot has met with a Teva search committee that is attempting to find a successor to former CEO Erez Vigodman, who stepped down in February. In a note Numis said: "Earlier this year the company and [regulator] Ofcom gave many BT shareholders much heartache, but at current levels we believe the share price discounts some incredible assumptions". Its chief financial officer Eyal Desheh also resigned last month.

Astra shares were off 4.5% on Thursday morning to £49.60.

AstraZeneca shares were down nearly 5% on the London Stock Exchange following the news, while Teva's shares jumped nearly 6% on the Tel Aviv exchange.

Soriot is now waiting for all-important data from a MYSTIC trial of a lung cancer candidate, which Goldman Sachs has said will be one of the year's most important clinical readouts.

Roger Franklin an analyst with Liberum, said: "Coupled with heightened United Kingdom scrutiny of chief executive pay and the rebellion against the last Astra remuneration report, [the signing bonus] could be a likely a factor behind any departure in our view".

Trinity Delta analyst Mick Cooper told Reuters: "Such a move only makes sense if Mystic is expected to disappoint".

"That said, we have significant trouble reconciling the timing of the potential departure pre-MYSTIC and Dr Soriot's skill set match with Teva".

Soriot is being lured with a bumper financial package, Calcalist suggested, which will include a bonus rumoured to be worth around $20m upon signing the contract, though financial terms were still being discussed.

Teva's chairman, Sol Barer, said in May his top priority was the continuing global search to identify a candidate with "deep and broad pharmaceutical experience" to serve as Teva's permanent CEO.

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