PETER ROST: PHARMA MARKETING EXPERT WITNESS. AWP, MEDICAL DEVICE EXPERT.: Thoughtful Words on Pfizer
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PETER ROST: PHARMA MARKETING EXPERT WITNESS. AWP, MEDICAL DEVICE EXPERT.

Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Pfizer Marketing Vice President providing services as a medical device and drug expert witness and pharmaceutical marketing expert. Judge Sanders: "The court agrees with defendants' view that Dr. Rost is a very adept and seasoned expert witness." He is also the author of Emergency Surgery, The Whistleblower and Killer Drug. You can reach him on rostpeter (insert symbol) hotmail.com. Please read the terms of use agreement and privacy policy for this blog carefully.

Thoughtful Words on Pfizer

Derek Lowe over at In the Pipeline has written some thoughtful words on the transition at Pfizer. Here they are:

I'm actually going to try to show some restraint and not make snide comments about Pfizer's announcement of a new CEO. True, Hank McKinnell is retiring at least a year before he said he was going to. But hey, I wouldn't want to be running Pfizer right now, either. And true, Pfizer's stock is down over 35% over his tenure - but as you can see from this chart, it wasn't until the first part of 2004 that PFE and the S&P 500 index definitively parted ways. And it's true that the new CEO, Jeffrey Kindler, is a lawyer rather than a scientist or businessman, has only been in the drug industry since 2002, and came to Pfizer from McDonald's.

The reason that I'm not throwing a fit about this is because I think, to a good first approximation, that it doesn't matter very much who the CEO of a large company is. As long as they're reasonably confident and competent, and not noticeably larcenous, it doesn't matter. I realize that I've just contradicted whole shelves of business books, but keep in mind that many of these are written by CEOs and/or the people that love them. I don't have much use for cults of personality, and that's what I think you get when you make too big a deal out of the top job. You can fill in the outlines of my opinion of, say, Jack Welch.

So I wish Jeffrey Kindler luck. As he's probably already noticed, he's in a rather different industry than the ones he's worked in before - and he shouldn't trust anyone who tries to tell him different. He should also show anyone the door who tries to make a case for exceptionalism, that Pfizer can succeed as a great behemoth because they're just so darn Pfizery. No, all he needs are a lot of smart, hard-working people, a lot of money, and - not least - some good fortune. Which is all anyone needs to be a success.

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