Pfizer names Ian Read CEO af­ter Kindler steps down

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

NEW YORK: Pfizer Inc., the world's biggest drugmaker, named Ian C. Read chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer as the com­pany pre­pares to face generic com­pe­ti­tion to its top-sell­ing choles­terol treat­ment Lip­i­tor.

Read, 57, the head of Pfizer's global bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal op­er­a­tions since 2006, re­places Jef­frey B. Kindler, who has re­tired, the New York-based com­pany said in a state­ment yes­ter­day. Kindler, 55, was named CEO on July 28, 2006. Since then, the shares have fallen 35 per­cent to $16.73, as of Dec. 3 in New York Stock Ex­change trad­ing.

Pfizer will lose patent pro­tec­tion in the U.S. next year for Lip­i­tor, which had $11.4 bil­lion in sales last year. While the drugmaker moved to make up for the loss by pay­ing $68 bil­lion last year to ac­quire Wyeth, adding the En­brel arthri­tis treat­ment and Prevnar pneu­mo­nia vac­cine, it also has had four set­backs this year in de­vel­op­ing its re­search pipe­line. "It hasn't been an easy ride for him," Les Funt­ley­der, a Miller Tabak & Co. port­fo­lio man­ager in New York, said of Kindler, in a tele­phone in­ter­view. "The stock has un­der­per­formed. Pharma in gen­eral and Pfizer in par­tic­u­lar have had a tough cou­ple of years."

Both Funt­ley­der and Tim An­der­son, an an­a­lyst with San­ford C. Bern­stein & Co. in San Fran­cisco, said they think the shares will rise as a re­sult of the change. "The de­par­ture is sud­den but I doubt there was one event per se that caused Kindler's" re­tire­ment, An­der­son said in an e-mail. It is "highly likely he was pushed." Ray Kerins, a Pfizer spokesman, de­clined to com­ment on the tim­ing of the changeover. Last month, Pfizer and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb Co. halted a trial of their ex­per­i­men­tal blood thin­ner, apix­a­ban, af­ter an in­crease in bleed­ing out­weighed ben­e­fits for pa­tients who re­cently suf­fered a heart at­tack or se­vere chest pain. -Bloomberg

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