(photo credit: Bloomberg News)
Teva Pharmaceuticals CEO Shlomo Yanai announced his resignation on Monday. It
will only take effect in May, but this hasn’t stopped politicians from multiple
parties from salivating over the major-general-turned-businessman, who is
expected to be the next hot commodity in Israeli politics.
59, said he was departing from his post in order to enter “public life,” he has
not been specific about where he is heading. One member of Knesset who considers
him a close friend said Yanai did not even mention that he was considering
politics in a recent meeting.
Shlomo Yanai to resign as Teva CEO in May
“Politics is just one of my options,” Yanai
told Channel 10. “Public service encompasses a lot of different spheres.” In
media interviews, Yanai even declined to reveal at what end of the political map
his allegiances lie until he finishes five months guiding his successor, Jeremy
“There have been overtures [from parties] and of course I speak to
people, but I will only seriously consider what to do when I complete my term at
Teva,” he told Channel 2.
One option for Yanai could be a prospective
party led by journalist Yair Lapid
. A Shvakim Panorama poll broadcast on Israel
Radio on Thursday predicted that such a party could win 15 Knesset
The most serious options for Yanai among current parties include
Kadima and Labor. But Yanai’s future in either party could depend on its
Yanai meets regularly with current Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, but he is said to have poor relations with
her challenger, MK Shaul Mofaz, who was appointed IDF chief of General Staff in
1998 when he competed for the post.
“He is a terrific, serious guy, and
of course we would welcome him,” Kadima faction head Dalia Itzik
Yanai’s friends in Labor include his former commander, Amram
Mitzna, and MK Avishay Braverman, who built ties with him when he was president
of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Yanai was OC Central
But the multimillionaire could be scared off by Labor leader
Shelly Yacimovich’s fight against CEOs with bloated salaries.
Likud, Yanai has a good relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
whose national security adviser, Ya’acov Amidror, is Yanai’s brother-in-law.
Channel 10 reported that Yanai helped Netanyahu avert a crisis with Germany over
submarines Israel had purchased that were being held back for political
Officials familiar with Yanai’s views said he favors concessions
to the Palestinians that would make him less of a good fit with the
But ministers in the party said they want him anyway.
would be welcome in Likud or any other party, but he is not Meretz,” Vice
Premier Moshe Ya’alon said. “He is not as left-wing as people think.”