Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., a drug maker whose shares have dropped 45% this year, said Monday that President and Chief Operating Officer Joseph C. Papa was quitting after the company split his position into two jobs.
The Corona-based company is seeking presidents for both its brand name and generic drug units after Papa, 49, declined to fill one of the new openings, Watson spokesman Chris Eso said.
Papa, who joined Watson three years ago, will step down Nov. 19.
Watson has been the worst performer in the Standard & Poor's 500 pharmaceuticals index this year.
In June, the company said it would cut 300 of its 600 sales jobs to focus on urology, kidney and generic drugs. Watson introduced versions of GlaxoSmithKline's anti-smoking medicine Zyban and antidepressant Wellbutrin this year as competition increased for its birth control pills.
"We believe having a president in each business unit will enhance our ability to maximize the growth of each business," said Allen Chaom, the company's chief executive.
The unit presidents will report directly to him.
Watson shares slid 96 cents to $25.28 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The S&P 500 pharmaceuticals index has fallen 16% this year.