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Feb 6 (Reuters) - Israel-based generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said on Monday that Chief Executive Erez Vigodman was stepping down effective immediately and would be replaced on an interim basis by Yitzhak Peterburg, who has been chairman of Teva's board of directors.
Because Israeli company law calls for separation of the roles of chairman and CEO, Petersburg will no longer head the board, which elected former Celgene Corp CEO Sol Barer to serve as the new chairman of the world's largest seller of generic medicines.
Prior to rejoining Teva's board of directors in 2012, Peterburg led the company's innovative research and development efforts as head of global branded products, from October 2010 until October 2011.
The company said it has hired a search firm to help identify candidates as it looks for a permanent CEO.
Teva has faced numerous recent hurdles, including successful patent challenges to its most important branded product - the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone, integration of the Actavis generics business it bought last year for $40.5 billion, and a U.S. investigation into generic drug price fixing.
Teva last month provided a 2017 revenue and profit forecast below Wall Street estimates, sending its shares sharply lower at the time.
Vigodman had been CEO since February of 2014.
Teva's U.S.-listed shares fell more than 2 percent in extended trading after the latest management shakeup was announced. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Bernard Orr)