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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) Please read the terms of use agreement and privacy policy for this blog carefully.

Kindler Shakes Up Pfizer: Katen Leaves

A long fight between the three vice chairmen of Pfizer, which led to Mr. Kindler's promotion to CEO, has now ended with Ms. Katen leaving the company.

Mr. Kindler stated in a company press release that "Vice Chairman Karen Katen has reflected on both her professional and personal goals, and she will be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities."

To those who have followed this blog this development may not come as a surprise, see my post How Mr. Kindler Outmaneuvered Everyone to Become Pfizer CEO.

And to claim, like But Shaojing Tong, an analyst at Mehta Partners, that he was surprised Katen was leaving "so abruptly" is outright ridiculous.

This was a life and death fight, including an anonymous letter to the board of directors criticizing Mr. Kindler's leadership qualities, and in the end any such fight will result in the demise of the key opponent. That opponent, it turns out, was Ms. Katen.

Meanwhile, encouraged by recent events, according to Associated Press, "The AFL-CIO on Tuesday asked Pfizer Inc. to dump board chairman Henry McKinnell, who was replaced as the company's chief executive last month -- 19 months ahead of schedule. In a letter to the chair of Pfizer's Corporate Governance Committee, the union said that under McKinnell's leadership the company has lost more than $50 billion in market value and that he should be relieved of his duties and replaced with an independent board chair who hasn't previously served on the drug maker's board."

With Ms. Katen gone this leaves Mr. Kindler alone with his other opponent, Mr. Shedlarz. And true to form, the loyal loser who bows to his new emperor, is richly rewarded.

According to Pfizer, "Mr. Kindler said that David Shedlarz, vice chairman, will be assuming expanded responsibilities. Mr. Shedlarz's additional responsibilities will include Pfizer Global Manufacturing, and worldwide strategic planning, licensing and business development and technology. "To his new role as my principal deputy, [my bold letters] David brings strategic insight, years of experience inour industry and many important accomplishments achieved during hisdistinguished career at Pfizer," said Mr. Kindler."

So here we have the new team. Shedlarz and Kindler.

To their help they will have Ian Reed, who takes over Ms. Katen's old job. Mr. Read has been president of Pfizer's Europe, Canada, Africa, Middle East and Latin America division.

According to Bloomberg News, "Jeff Kindler has been on the job for 15 days and already there is a notion that he is quite decisive and perhaps to some degree is attempting to de-layer the organization,'' said Tony Butler, an analyst with Lehman Brothers in New York, in a telephone interview today."

Yesterday the Star Ledger wrote the following prophetic words (I also remember laying the ground for these thoughts when I met with this newspaper last week):

"When Jeffrey Kindler was named chief executive of Pfizer late last month, he issued a statement that included the usual niceties about working with "a wonderful group of colleagues around the world."

But he also promised to shake things up.

"The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing unprecedented change," he said in Pfizer's July 28 press release announcing Kindler would immediately replace longtime CEO Hank McKinnell. "In response, we will transform virtually every aspect of how we do business."

He said he wants to make the No.1 prescription drugmaker "more efficient and cost-effective." He wants to "reduce organizational layers to speed decision-making." And he talked about the need to "continuously review our go-to-market strategies."

When the boards of major corporations want continuity, they replace CEOs with veteran insiders. When they want change, they go with an outsider."

Mr. Kindler wasn't chosen because he was a lawyer. He was selected because the board of directors were fed up with the old guard at Pfizer. With Ms. Katen gone and Shedlarz bowing to Kindler, that spell has finally been broken.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the heads up regarding to the AFL-CIO article. I probably would have missed it otherwise. You have provided me with a small piece of information to advance something I've been thinking about for some time now. I'd done a bit of researching and reading, but things had remained relatively stagnant in the answers dept. This tidbit was a ray off-topic sunshine. Hmm, you never know where you'll find buried treasure.

Blogger Peter Rost said...

I'm just happy for the comment. Suddenly when I got into corporate stuff everyone got so silent . . .!?

Blogger shooter45 said...

You noticed, huh? Remember my Pop, the psychiatrist? He warned me about a phenomonon called "fear of success." Now, my diagnosis isn't worth the 5 cents that Lucy charges Charley Brown, but you got it, my friend. Your history, your career, and now this blog. Every time you switch. Sure, there's always a "reason." We laypeople call it excuses or rationalizations, but it's a time bomb, and if you don't fix it, it'll blow blow you away.
Peter, I know as much about about polymer chemistry, aspect ratios, and decoupling grooves as you know about Pfizer and pharmaceuticals. My 35 year association with The Goodyear Tire & Rubbers Co. is no more interesting to the other readers than yours is with Pfizer. Just go back over your last 30 or so posts. See what got your readers involved and responding. Other readers have written long, fascinating narratives with nary a yawn from you. But some space cadet tells you you're a genius, gives you a psychic
b.j. and you go ga-ga. Come to think of it, Arianna shares that trait, and we left her for what ?.........For you, my friend.
I don't have to tell you, you've been blessed with superior DNA. Don't be an example of the saying, " he was so smart, he outsmarted himself."


Anonymous Janine said...

Personally I find the Pfizer stuff fascinating - I just don't have much to contribute to it. Personal posts are easier to respond to since we can all relate to them.

Blogger Peter Rost said...

Ah, shooter, now you caught me with my pants down. Actually, when you guys talk a lot I don't see the need to interrupt. It takes enough time just to write the posts, and my wife has made it very clear that I spend tooooooo much time on this blog as it is!

Blogger shooter45 said...

Apollogy accepted.....I still love you.

Blogger Moogirl said...

Ah Doc, the never-ending blog vs. the neglected spouse. You know more great blogs have died an early death because of this? That’s why you need to be able to make a living doing this blog. If it were your job instead of a “hobby” then you would have a much better argument for the time you spend doing it. This is precisely why I had to give mine up. It is an all-consuming job if you want to do it right.

I have to agree with Janine that personal post are easier to respond to simply because we CAN all relate. And my dear Shooter, you have to admit, when we get on a rambling tangent, why would Doc interrupt, except maybe to put us all in time out! But on the third hand, I’ve always hoped the Doc would add his 2 cents in the comments area more often, even when we’re all just being silly.

What I know about Pfizer you could fit on the head of a pin. I’m never even sure how you spell it. I’m just now learning about it, but it is very overwhelming. So I rarely comment on those posts. But I would imagine that Doc has a pretty good Pfizer following even though, for some reason, they don’t comment. Why do you suppose that is Doc?

But I have to agree with Shooter. If you go by comments alone, it’s easy to see what arouses the most interest, at least by those who want to add their opinions.

So Doc, I have a suggestion. I think your 60 Minutes piece should be a permanent link somewhere. I think if you were to leave the link in a prominent place (like maybe under your picture) it would certainly help those of us who are Pfizer newbies understand and join in the whole Pfizer saga.

Blogger Peter Rost said...

Moogirl, that's some real good suggestions.

As for Pfizer, you wouldn't believe how many of them have started coming here, but they are all very, very quiet.

We did have one from the UK, though, who did post some good comments.

Wish more of them would do that.

Blogger Moogirl said...

If they are current employees then the quiet lurking is understandable. But I would love it if the former Pfizers became more visible. You’d think this would be the perfect forum for them to vent a little!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I AM a former Pfizer employee who was recently ATs'ed (that's adapted to scale, AKA let go). My position was eliminated in the course of the ongoing reorganization/restructuring efforts that are supposed to save a bazillion dollars annually. Because of my age and lengthy tenure, I was able to take an early, albeit forced, retirement that included non-contribution medical benefits for 'life'. I am here to tell you that life, in Pfizer's dictionary, is about 9 months long. I just received a letter telling me that beginning in 2007, all folks who retired after 1993 will have to make monthly contributions for their medical coverage. The letter indicated that the company had reached its pre-set cap, and had no choice. Of course, reaching the cap was hastened by the massive layoffs still in progress, and the compensation packages, including early retirement, that really leave you no choice but to exit the compnay - you would be crazy not to - it would cost you money to stay! So many people have elected to terminate, even those who are not eligible for any retirement benefits, that the company has been forced to hire scores of contractors to complete even routing tasks. In Clinical Development, Pfizer has taken layering to a new height, despite the fact that Kindler is being touted as removing layers. The stratification in Clinical includes the renaming of old positions and having individuals in those roles apply for their own jobs. Several weeks of massive interview panels at offsite locations, wasting time and money. So many people declined to interview for their own jobs that the postings are still active and positions unfilled for more than 6 months.
I immediately took my 401K out of Pfizer's control and intend to take a lump sum pension payment as soon as I reach 55, despite the financial hit of taking the pension early. I have no faith/trust that it will even be there when I am 59 or greater.
I see and talk with many of my former colleagues on a regular basis and the morale is horrible. How can even the most talented of individuals remain focused and motivated in a environment that supresses creativity and rewards pedantics?


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