Teva shareholders approve pay package for CEO Jeremy Levin despite criticism from analysts

Teva Pharmaceuticals shareholders met in Tel Aviv this week and voted to approve the compensation package for chief executive officer Jeremy Levin - despite increasing pressure on the company from Wall Street analysts.

Teva is based in Israel and has operations in the Philadelphia area. Its Americas headquarters is in Montgomery County. Teva sells more generic medicine than any other pharmaceutical company and is trying to increase revenue with higher-profit, brand-name drugs.

Teva did not say in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (link here) what the vote totals were, but the result means that Levin will get the cash payment of $1,203,125 for his work in 2012. The shareholders also approved the compensation package for 2013, under which Levin gets a base salary of $1.5 million and a bonus of up to $3 million. Eighty five percent of the bonus is based on the company hitting certain performance targets and 15 percent on an assessment of Levin's performance.

Levin might not collect any of that if a few financial analysts were scribbling the performance review. In July, Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin suggested her clients sell the stock. Then, during the Aug. 1 conference call to discuss the second quarter financial results, Rubin asked Levin if the board of directors still approved of his management plan.

Levin said the board still agreed with him.

On Aug. 22, board chairman Phillip Frost seemed to say as much in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

“I don’t pay too much attention to what other analysts are saying,” Frost said, according to Bloomberg's online story (link here). “We need to do what’s important for the company and I personally have expressed my confidence in the way I know how to do it, and that’s by buying shares.”

Bloomberg reported that Frost bought 1 million Teva shares at prices ranging from $37.82 to $39.57 each, citing the company as the source.

Teva disclosed more about executive compensation than it had in recent years, perhaps prompted by a class-action lawsuit filed by two business professors.

Globes, an Israeli business publication, reported that Tuesday's meeting in Tel Aviv was relatively calm, unlike the 2012 shareholder meeting at which Frost and others took heat over compensation. A link to the Globes story is here.