Friday, September 28, 2007

Pfizer gets some adult supervision

According to this press release, Pfizer has elected two new directors to its board: James M. Kilts (former CEO of Gillette) and Suzanne Nora Johnson (former head of research at Goldman Sachs).

Pharmalyst's own view is that it is high time that Pfizer's board saw some changes of this nature. The previous board tolerated their previous CEO McKinnell for too long and let him walk away with an obscene pension package. At one time, their board included people like Frankin Raines (former CEO of Fannie May and who according to many had a key role in the accounting scandals in that Pfizer's credit, Mr. Raines didn't stand for re-election once the scandals at Fannie May emerged).

If you look at Pfizer's current board (see here) it is clear that this board could use people like Mr. Kilts and Ms. Johnson. The board does have eminent scientists, academics and policy wonks. However on the corporate side (corporate strategy, finance, governance etc) it does seem to lack heavyweights with the notable exception of William C. Steere Jr. (he was their CEO before Mr. McKinnell). Based on what Mr. Kilts did at Gillette (& later the deal with P&G) and what Ms. Johnson did at Goldman, Pfizer's CEO could get some real adult supervision now.

These changes coupled with a few other things such as the ones below bode interesting times for Pfizer ahead.
  • Selzentry being studied for RA
  • Neurontin patent litigation heading to the supremes
  • Chantix sales are smokin' hot :-)
  • New CFO announced
  • New head of R&D (To be announced)

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