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Ahead of the Bell: Teva Pharma CEO Levin resigns

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The Associated Press | October 30, 2013 06:59 AM EST | AP

Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. sank in premarket trading Wednesday after the drugmaker said President and CEO Jeremy Levin has agreed to resign less than two years into the job.

The Israeli company said its board and Levin agreed that he will step down. The board named Chief Financial Officer Eyal Desheh an interim replacement and formed a committee to start searching for a permanent successor.

Teva, which reports third-quarter results on Thursday, gave no reason for the resignation in a Wednesday morning statement.

Levin is a former senior executive at U.S. drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb who became CEO in 2012 after Shlomo Yani stepped down.

Teva is one of the world's largest generic drugmakers. It has struggled in recent quarters with declining sales for both generic and brand-name drugs.

The drugmaker announced a restructuring in 2012 and said earlier this month that it planned to cut 5,000 employees, or about 10 percent of the global workforce, by the end of next year. The restructuring aims to slim the drugmaker's business and make it more efficient.

The company took heavy criticism for the cuts in its home country, where it is affectionately known as "Israel's company." Political leaders noted that Teva is making these cuts while also enjoying sweeping tax exemptions.

U.S. traded shares of Teva fell 5.4 percent, or $2.20, to $38.82 in premarket trading. The stock has risen more than 10 percent this year in regular trading.