Pfizer Announces Big Changes at the Top

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Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) shares hit multiyear highs and nearly an all-time in Monday’s session after the pharma giant announced a succession plan for its chief executive. Pfizer joins a few other companies, like General Electric and Tesla, making changes at the top as well.

The Pfizer board of directors has unanimously elected Dr. Albert Bourla, chief operating officer, to succeed Ian Read as CEO effective January 1, 2019. Read will transition from his current role as board chair and CEO to executive chair of Pfizer’s board of directors.

Since Read assumed the CEO role in 2010, Pfizer has recorded several achievements:

  • 30 FDA approvals
  • Total shareholder return of 250%, outperforming the S&P 500 index
  • $120 billion or so direct return of capital to shareholders
  • Strong pipeline with the potential for approximately 25 to 30 approvals through 2022, of which up to 15 have the potential to be blockbusters
  • 70% increase in annual dividends to $1.36 from $0.80

Read, commented:

It’s been an honor to serve as Pfizer’s CEO for the past eight years. However, now is the right time for a leadership change, and Albert is the right person to guide Pfizer through the coming era. Albert is an energizing leader who has an unwavering commitment to serving patients. With 25 years at Pfizer, he has developed an extensive knowledge of the industry and demonstrated an ability to build and grow businesses. With Albert at the helm, our dedicated colleagues across the globe are poised to deliver the next stage of growth. I look forward to working with Albert and the Board to continue serving patients and delivering value for shareholders.

Shares of Pfizer were last seen up about 1% at $44.42, with a consensus analyst price target of $42.39 and a 52-week trading range of $33.20 to $44.47.