SENIOR DIRECTOR & EXECUTIVE GC
GLOBAL CORPORATE AFFAIRS
TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS INDUSTRIES LTD
RAMAT HASHARON, ISRAEL
Asaf Alkoby didn’t always plan to be a lawyer; he was a professional volleyball player until his mid-20s, even making Israel’s national team. “Life was all about sports for me,” he jokes. But once he made the decision to pursue law, he set his sights on an in-house role at Teva Pharmaceuticals. Thirteen years and four roles later, Asaf reflects on what drew him to the company: “Teva is a leader in the industry, and it serves an important purpose that I feel very attached to, which is caring for patients all around the world.” The Israel-based pharmaceutical company serves 200 million patients across six continents every day.
As senior director and executive general counsel of global corporate affairs, Asaf is an integral part of Teva’s international reach. He leverages his engagement in significant capital market transactions, IP settlements, and licensing agreements to identify new opportunities for the business. When negotiating a license agreement for a new pharmaceutical product projected for several Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific markets, Asaf recognized its potential to succeed in Latin America markets as well and collaborated with business development and commercial teams to implement this approach. The addition of the markets generated millions of dollars in sales for the company.
He notes, “The projects that I’m currently working on, when you’re looking at it financially, have a much larger impact than the ones I’ve been exposed to in the [Teva] Israeli business,” which Asaf previously oversaw in his role as GC of Teva Israel. The transition from a national, to regional, and now global focus required adjustments — in-person meetings with local businesses became videoconferences with international partners and projects went from short-term objectives with quick solutions to a long-term strategy with territory expansion goals. But Asaf has taken the challenges in stride, staying up to date on international regulations, trends, and industry norms.
In response to new securitization regulation requirements for origination of receivables, Teva was faced with restructuring a large part of its securitization program in a short timeframe. Asaf suggested the organization instead leverage a legal structure from an existing financial instrument. With two weeks until the deadline, Asaf designed the strategy, obtained buy-in from stakeholders, and liaised with local counsel and tax and accounting experts. They met the deadline, and the solution generated significant cash benefits for the organization.
Having a global overview of Teva’s legal commitments allows Asaf to identify best practices that can be employed across jurisdictions — in agreements and internal processes. He created guidelines for onboarding general counsel and establishing legal departments in international markets. Dozens of new hires and existing GCs use these guidelines, which are frequently updated with new trends and requirements. Asaf also led efforts to modernize the shared services contract management platform. “The main focus for us was identifying sets of agreements and other legal areas that could be automated,” he explains. “And on that, I also added a feature for monitoring and being able to see the number of requests for each lawyer. That way we would be able to identify bottlenecks and areas where we were most struggling.” The system improved production volumes by over 50 percent while freeing up workloads of lawyers and decreasing external expenses.
Asaf is also involved in pro bono and volunteer work. He is a member of Teva’s corporate donation committee and supports the organization’s corporate social responsibility team. He is involved in a unique pro bono project with the Israeli Civic Leadership Association, where he provides assistance to nonprofits in preparing financial aid requests related to COVID-19 disruptions. He also mentors junior in-house counsel and law school graduates from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, enjoying the opportunity to build up the next generation of in-house counsel. After all, Asaf knows from personal experience that talented in-house counsel can come from any place — or any sport.