"No Tears for Hank McKinnell"
Is the headline of The Street report on Pfizer's management change. And so the criticism that finally was unleashed on Friday and Saturday against Mr. McKinnell and his lack of leadership continues.
Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan suggested McKinnell's "lack of relationship" with top investors and "aloofness" contributed to his early departure.
The Street also subtly questions Jeff Kindler's competence, and writes, "By choosing a new chief executive who has spent more time working for Big Mac than for Big Pharma, Pfizer (PFE - commentary - Cramer's Take) certainly caught Wall Street's attention."
Jeff Kindler's only redeeming feature, according to this news outlet, is that he isn't McKinnell. "The initial response to Jeffrey Kindler, one of three Pfizer vice chairmen competing for the job, appears to be favorable partly because Kindler isn't Henry "Hank" McKinnell, who stepped down as CEO immediately on Friday.
And David Moskowitz of Friedman Billings Ramsey piles it on in a research report and says that Pfizer's management "has steadily lost all credibility, in our view, guiding for obviously unachievable objectives and teaching the industry a painful lesson on mega-merger failure."
Merril Lynch also expresses their concern that Kindler really is a McDonalds hamburger man. "We think that an outsider is the right choice," says David Risinger of Merrill Lynch, who updgraded Pfizer to buy from neutral. "But we note that Jeff Kindler is somewhat unproven as a pharmaceutical executive."
Kindler competed with Karen Katen, who joined Pfizer in 1974 and is in charge of human health operations, and David Shedlarz, who joined the company in 1976, for the job. And Risinger echos my earlier comments, and says "there's a possibility both will leave the company. However, change may not be a bad thing at Pfizer."
So the investment community appears to feel that McKinnell was not a good thing. Nor was Katen. Or Shedlarz. Anything is better, even a former hamburger executive.
Now that's criticism which speaks volumes.