The company said in a release Sunday that Dr. Jeremy Levin, a former senior executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb, will replace him.
Yanai has been CEO of Teva for five years. Teva said he took the company from a business of mainly generics with $8.4 billion in annual revenue to a more diversified business with anticipated 2012 revenue of $22 billion and expanded footprint in the European, Asian and Latin America markets.
The company said Yanai wanted "to move on to a new phase in his career." The Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported that Yanai, a former general, might become active in politics.
Levin has more than 25 years of experience in the global pharmaceuticals industry, leading companies and people in the creation, development and delivery of medicines.
Teva is the world's largest generic drugmaker. It also makes branded drugs for multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
Levin commented, “I have known and admired Teva for many years, not just as a global leader in generic drugs, but as an outstanding innovator in pharmaceutical development and new strategic approaches to serve patients worldwide."
“Over the past five years, Teva has been transformed from a successful generics business into a major global pharmaceutical company,” said Yanai. “We have achieved double-digit increases in sales and earnings, and have built, acquired or partnered to create new opportunities to support future sustainable growth.
"I believe 2012 will be yet another year of profitable growth. I look forward to completing my tenure at Teva and moving on to my next challenging venture. I am confident that Jeremy Levin will lead Teva to its next stage of success.”