Pfizer’s executive chairman Ian Read, is to be succeeded by CEO Albert Bourla with a date to start the post being January 1st 2020.
Mr Bourla, who joined Pfizer’s animal health division in 1993, succeeded Mr. Read from Chief Operating Officer as Chief Executive earlier this year in January, and will now go on to serve as Executive Chairman.
Mr Read has spent nine years in the role and has been at the company for a total of 41 years, first arriving in 1978 and becoming CEO in 2010, joining the board the following year.
The outgoing chairman said in a statement: “It’s been my greatest privilege to serve alongside Pfizer colleagues for the past 41 years. Their compassion, integrity, intellectual rigor and commitment to patients are what make Pfizer such an extraordinary company, and I’m proud to have been part of its history.
“I have tremendous confidence in Albert, the board and our colleagues, and believe that Pfizer’s best days are yet to come – which is an exciting thought for patients and their families across the globe.”
Shantanu Narayen, Lead Independent Director of Pfizer’s Board of Directors, stated: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to congratulate Ian for his distinguished career and thank him for his steadfast service to Pfizer. Ian has been a model of corporate leadership and integrity in the industry and beyond. We wish him well in his retirement.”
Since becoming CEO in 2010, Mr Read has overseen 30 FDA approvals, a 70% increase in annual dividends, and total shareholder return of 250%.
However, having joined Pfizer as the firm was hit by the expiry of the patents on both Viagra, and the world’s best-selling drug Lipitor; Read persevered through a turbulent period for the US drug maker, during which the company experienced $27 billion in lost sales.
Albert Bourla said in a statement: ““I am honoured to have been chosen to succeed Ian as the Chairman of the Board of this wonderful company. It truly is an opportunity of a lifetime to be appointed Chairman at such a dynamic time for Pfizer, the pharmaceutical industry, and the patients around the world who rely on our medicines and vaccines. Driven by our purpose – breakthroughs that change patients’ lives – we can have a meaningful impact on more people than ever was imagined.
“I want to thank Ian for his unwavering dedication to Pfizer over the past four decades and during this leadership transition. As a result of his unrelenting focus on culture, creating value and developing talent, Pfizer has become a stronger and more stable institution. His leadership and counsel have been invaluable to the company, and more personally, I have benefited greatly from Ian’s advice, guidance and friendship.”
Bourla has been at Pfizer for approximately 25 years and has held a number of senior global positions across a range of markets and disciplines, including Group President of Pfizer’s Global Vaccines.
Narayen added that the naming of Albert as Executive Chairman was “the result of a systemic and comprehensive succession plan undertaken by the board” over several years, stating that he was the “logical choice” for the position.