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Pfizer loses heads of research and finance

Published on 23/05/07 at 03:45pm

Two key Pfizer executives are to step down as the company continues its drive to reinvigorate itself.

The departures follow the company's decision earlier this year to axe 10,000 jobs worldwide  - 10% of its total workforce - by the end of 2008, a move designed to save it $4 billion.

Dr John LaMattina, president of Pfizer Global Research and Development, will retire by the end of this year after 30 years with the company. The company's chief financial officer Alan Levin has also resigned.

Both men will continue working at the company while Pfizer searches for their replacements.

Pfizer's chairman and chief executive Jeff Kindler paid tribute to his departing head of research and said the company would now focus on accelerating the development and commercialisation of its pipeline.

"Pfizer now has a significant array of early- and mid-stage product candidates across a range of important therapeutic areas, and John has made a critical contribution to building this foundation," he said.

"With that in place, John felt it was the right time to retire as we look to the future and accelerate the development of our most promising compounds so that they will be ready for commercialisation as rapidly as possible."

This is particularly important after the failure last December of its next blockbuster-in-waiting, cholesterol drug torcetrapib, because of safety problems.

Pfizer's current research programmes include potential new treatments in obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, oncology, liver disease, HIV and Alzheimer's disease.

John LaMattina said the company was working on insights into the human body, genetics and the causes of disease that could not have been imagined a decade ago.

"Under Jeff Kindler's leadership, we are building on that progress with initiatives that will simplify our structure even more, consolidate major research programmes at four principal sites and put each of our therapeutic areas under a single, accountable leader.

"With this strong foundation in place, I believe that now is the time for a leadership transition, so that we have the right leader in place to bring our innovative new medicines forward," he added.

Meanwhile, chief financial officer Alan Levin has resigned to pursue career opportunities outside Pfizer.

Like LaMattina, he is a long-serving employee of the company with 20 years of service under his belt.

"I have been fortunate to work with many outstanding colleagues at this great company," said Alan Levin. "Pfizer has grown in ways that none of us could have imagined, but always with a keen focus on serving patients and doing everything we can to address unmet medical needs."

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