Pfizer said Bourla, 56, currently group president of the Pfizer Innovative Health business unit, is slated to start in the COO role on Jan. 1. With the move, chairman and chief executive officer Ian Read will be able to devote more attention to strategy, according to the pharmaceutical giant.
“The naming of a chief operating officer comes at a time when our business is strong as we continue to advance our strategy while also managing a dynamic and challenging external environment,” Read said in a statement. “The addition of a COO will enable me to spend more time focusing on the company’s long-term strategic direction, ensuring continued R&D productivity and engaging with government policy and industry leaders on key issues facing the future of the health care industry.”
Bourla has served as group president of Pfizer Innovative Health since February 2016. The division includes six business groups: Consumer Healthcare, Inflammation & Immunology, Internal Medicine (neuroscience and pain, cardiovascular and metabolic), Oncology, Rare Disease and Vaccines. Previously, he was the group president of Pfizer’s Global Vaccines, Oncology and Consumer Healthcare Business. And before taking on that role, he was president and general manager of Pfizer’s Established Products Business, where he led the development and implementation of strategies related to Pfizer’s off-patent portfolio, including legacy brands and generics.
Bourla joined Pfizer’s Animal Health Division in 1993 as technical director of Greece and held positions of increasing responsibility across Europe before moving to Pfizer global headquarters in New York in 2001 to becomeU.S. group marketing director for Animal Health. In 2004, he was named vice president of Business Development and New Products Marketing, supervising Pfizer Animal Health global licensing and acquisition activities and the unit’s R&D portfolio. In 2006, he was appointed area president of Europe, Africa and Middle East, and in 2009 he assumed additional oversight for Asia and Pacific.
“Albert is a proven and trusted leader with over two decades of leadership experience and a demonstrated track record for delivering strong business results,” Read added. “He possesses the right combination of skills, knowledge, strengths and a deep commitment to Pfizer’s culture that make him the clear choice to become Pfizer’s COO.”
In other moves, Pfizer has named John Young, currently group president of Pfizer Essential Health, as group president of Pfizer Innovative Health, taking over from Bourla. Succeeding Young as group president of Pfizer Essential Health will be Angela Hwang, global president and general manager for Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology. Young and Hwang assume their new roles effective Jan. 1.
With their appointments, Young and Hwang will become members of Pfizer’s executive leadership team and report to Bourla. Other members of the executive leadership team reporting to Bourla, Pfizer said, will be Kirsten Lund-Jurgensen, executive vice president and president of Pfizer Global Supply; Rod MacKenzie, executive vice president and chief development officer; and Laurie Olson, executive vice president of strategy and commercial operations. Bourla will continue to report to Read.