Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) has tapped a former Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) senior executive to replace CEO Shlomo Yanai when he retires in May.

The company’s shares were up more than 5% Tuesday on Sunday’s announcement that Dr. Jeremy Levin, formerly of Bristol-Myers, was selected by Teva’s board to be the successor.

Yanai, 59, had planned to move on with his career after serving five years as Teva CEO and helping the company execute its growth strategy, during which time he took the company from an $8.4 billion mainly generics business in 2006 to a diversified global pharmaceutical company with expected 2012 revenue of $22 billion.

The board conducted an extensive search process before tapping Levin, who has deep knowledge of and 25 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He joined Bristol-Myers in 2007 and has had direct responsibility for strategy, alliances and transactions.

Earlier, Levin served for four years as global head of business development and strategic alliances at Novartis (NVS), and was chief officer of Cadus Pharmaceuticals, a company he took public.   

“Dr. Levin is an exceptionally talented business leader with a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the pharmaceutical industry,” said Dr. Philip Frost, Teva’s chairman.

“He brings to Teva a wealth of experience and the hands-on skills required to foster the growth of a global pharmaceutical business,” Frost said.

Levin, 58, was born in South Africa and has lived in the U.S. since 1986. He has also lived in Zimbabwe, Great Britain, Switzerland and Israel.  

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