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Pfizer's Kindler retires, new CEO elected
December 6th, 2010
NEW YORK – Pfizer Inc. said president and chief executive officer Jeffrey Kindler has retired and Ian Read has been elected by the board to lead the company.
Kindler also served as chairman. Pfizer said Sunday evening that its board will elect a nonexecutive chairman from its current membership at its next regularly scheduled meeting, slated to be held in the next two weeks.
Read, 57, current heads Pfizer's global biopharmaceutical operations. Besides taking the reins as president and CEO, he will also serve as a director on the board.
"I am honored to lead an organization with outstanding and dedicated colleagues on the front lines of medical innovation. We have a broad portfolio that spans the entire spectrum of human and animal health, from vaccines to biologics to primary care, specialty care, oncology, consumer products, nutritionals and beyond," Read said in a statement. "I have great confidence in the strength of our company and our leaders and will be looking at the performance and potential of all of our businesses to ensure we are delivering value to our customers and shareholders. We have all the elements for success — financial strength, global reach, a disciplined focus on the therapeutic areas with the strongest growth potential and a talented and dedicated workforce."
The 55-year-old Kindler, who led Pfizer through its $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth last year and has served as CEO since 2006, explained that he was weary from the challenges of running the company over the past several years.
"My nearly nine years at Pfizer and, particularly the last four and a half as CEO, have been extremely exciting and rewarding. I feel our team can proudly boast of some transformational accomplishments. However, the combination of meeting the requirements of our many stakeholders around the world and the 24x7 nature of my responsibilities, has made this period extremely demanding on me personally," Kindler stated. "Now that we are about to complete a full year of operating Pfizer and Wyeth together, with our world-class team fully in place, I have concluded the time is right to turn the leadership of the company over to Ian Read.
"Ian is an outstanding and experienced pharmaceutical executive who I know will make the next phase of the company's future a successful one," Kindler added. "He is more than ready to take on these responsibilities, and I am excited at the opportunity to recharge my batteries, spend some rare time with my family, and prepare for the next challenge in my career."
Constance Horner, lead independent director on Pfizer's board, pointed to Kindler's accomplishments during a challenging period for the pharmaceutical company.
"In 2006, Jeff Kindler took on the challenge of transforming Pfizer in the face of enormous changes in the global health care marketplace and significant patent expirations of major products, including Lipitor. Acting with the highest level of ethics and professionalism, he moved aggressively to drive change at the company, including putting new, more focused and agile business units in place, building and enhancing world-class compliance systems, recruiting talented new leaders, and refocusing and streamlining operations in every part of the world," Horner said in a statement. "He also led the acquisition of Wyeth, which brought the company valuable in-line and pipeline products and capabilities in attractive growth areas, including vaccines and biologics. Due to the efforts of Jeff, the executive leadership team and Pfizer's talented employees around the world, the company is now a stronger, more diversified and more focused company."
Since 2006, Read has led Pfizer's worldwide biopharmaceutical businesses — Primary Care, Specialty Care, Oncology, Established Products and Emerging Markets — which account for approximately 85% of the company's annual revenue. He joined Pfizer in 1978 and quickly assumed positions of increasing responsibility in Latin America. In 1996, he was appointed president of Pfizer's International Pharmaceuticals Group, with responsibility for Latin America and Canada. He was named corporate vice president in 2001 and assumed responsibility for Europe in addition to Canada. Read later added the Africa/Middle East and Latin American regions to his leadership responsibility.
"In the last four years as president of Pfizer's pharmaceutical businesses, Ian has redefined our go-to-market approach with the creation of global business units and has brought to product development a focus and commitment to advance only medicines that have clear value to our customers," Horner commented. "Today's business leaders need to understand global markets, drive change and innovation, and move quickly to adapt to competitive pressures. Ian's track record throughout his career has demonstrated these exact strengths."