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Pfizer CEO Retires

Pfizer CEO Retires - Pfizer Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Kindler has retired after 4 1/2 years leading the world's largest drug maker by sales, saying the demands of the job have worn him out.

Ian Read, a Pfizer veteran who has been heading sales and marketing of the company's pharmaceuticals business, has taken the CEO post, Pfizer said Sunday night. Mr. Read was also named a company director. The board plans to appoint a nonexecutive chairman from its current membership when it meets within the next two weeks.

The 55-year-old Mr. Kindler steered Pfizer through the $68 billion takeover of rival Wyeth, then divided the company into business units.

The moves seemed to pay off in recent months, with Pfizer gaining approval of the childhood vaccine Prevnar 13. The company also reported impressive clinical trial results for a cancer therapy called crizotinib and a pill for treating rheumatoid arthritis, both of which have the potential to be blockbusters.

But the consolidation and reorganization left many inside Pfizer confused about the lines of authority, and investors questioned how the combined company could grow significantly, especially with its top-selling drug, Lipitor, going off patent next year.

The stock was hurt after the company cut its dividend to help digest Wyeth and long-term earnings forecasts didn't meet investors' expectations, though the stock recovered more recently after Pfizer addressed the concerns.

Mr. Kindler was among the industry's leading proponents of the health overhaul, and his support drew criticism from some conservatives in Washington.

A Harvard-educated lawyer, Mr. Kindler headed restaurant chain Boston Market Corp. before joining Pfizer in 2002 as general counsel. He became CEO in 2006.

Pfizer CEO Retires


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