Erez Vigodman
Erez VigodmanReuters

Erez Vigodman, the Chief Executive Officer of the Israeli generic drugmaker giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries stepped down effective immediately on Monday, the company said.

Vigodman will be replaced on an interim basis by Yitzhak Peterburg, who has been chairman of Teva's board of directors, according to Reuters.

According to the announcement, former Celgene Corp CEO Sol Barer will replace Peterburg as head of the Teva board.

The company said it hired a search firm to help identify candidates as it looks for a permanent CEO.

The company’s shares have performed poorly for more than a year and a half, according to Reuters. They hit $72 in late July of 2015 and closed at $34.35 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, only to fall more than 2 percent in extended trading after the latest management shakeup was announced.

The company has suffered a series of recent stumbles and legal and operational setbacks which have resulted in investors calling for a shakeup, the report noted.

Recent challenges include a U.S. court last week finding patents invalid on Teva's most important branded product, the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone.

In December, Teva was ordered to pay $519 million in the United States to settle charges that it paid bribes to foreign officials to win business in Russia, Ukraine and Mexico.

Teva promised to enhance its compliance program after its Russia subsidiary pleaded guilty to one count of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and it signed off on a deferred prosecution agreement.

Teva last month provided a 2017 revenue and profit forecast below Wall Street's estimates, sending its shares sharply lower at the time. They fell sharply again after the Copaxone patent defeat, noted Reuters.

In 2013, its previous CEO Jeremy Levin stepped down after a dispute with the board, and rumors that Teva could face a takeover bid grew.