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New broom Kindler sweeps away Pfizer bureaucracy

Published on 21/08/06 at 05:36pm

Pfizer's new chief executive Jeffery Kindler has unveiled changes to the company's senior management structure just days into his new post, proclaiming the need for it to be more "agile and entrepreneurial".

Kindler takes over from Hank McKinnell, who departs a year earlier than originally planned, and as the new head of the world's biggest pharmaceutical company, he has wasted no time in introducing major changes, creating a new smaller core group of senior executives to speed decision-making processes.

The new Pfizer Executive Leadership Team will be made up of just seven executives representing all the core functions of the business.  Most significantly, vice chairman David Shedlarz will assume a strong deputy role, taking on additional responsibility for manufacturing, worldwide strategic planning, licensing, business development and technology.

Kindler says one major focus for his new deputy will be to apply technology across the company in order to improve productivity, as well as to help develop new products and services that enhance the value of its medicines.

But Karen Katen, head of the company's pharmaceuticals division is to leave the company after being passed over for the top job. Ian Read, (currently in charge in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America) will become the new Worldwide Pharmaceuticals Operations President, taking on greater powers in overseeing an integrated global unit.

Commenting on the changes, Kindler said: "This will put us in the best position to capitalise quickly on the enormous opportunities ahead of us through increasing support for successful new medicines, forging partnerships with key customers, entering into co-promotion and licensing agreements, investing in new technologies to add value to our core product offerings, and acquiring new products and services from outside the company."

Pointing to the changes in the pharma industry business environment, Kindler  said: "Science is creating new ways to treat disease; regulators and payers are more demanding; and patients and their families are using newly available information to take more control over their healthcare decisions."

He added: "[Pfizer must] become more agile and entrepreneurial, embracing the spirit of a small company, while exploiting the advantages of our unmatched scale and reach."

From the day of his appointment, Kindler has promised to "transform virtually every aspect of how we do business",  suggesting that the reshuffle could be the start of a further major re-organisation for the company's 105,000 employees worldwide.

A lawyer by training, Kindler acquired his business experience at McDonald's and General Electric before being appointed Pfizer's chief counsel in 2002. Analysts say it reflects similar appointments at other blue chip companies as litigation and regulation become increasingly important to business performance.



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