Will Pfizer CEO Mr. Kindler also resign?
Pfizer's CFO Alan Levin's resignation was announced yesterday, after three days of disclosures of corruption in Pfizer's finance department, revealed by former Pfizer finance executive Mr. Ashok S. Idnani, on the Question Authority with Dr. Peter Rost blog.
Brandweek wrote that "Rost this week has devoted his blog to an astonishing series of posts which allegedly describe how Pfizer execs in India took kickbacks in connection with the sale of a Pfizer building for far less than it was worth; how Pfizer hires private detectives to spy on rival executives and pay bribes, and how Pfizer India kept a "gift" list for certain Indian government officials."
Here is a look at what Pfizer CEO Mr. Jeff Kindler knew about these allegations - and when.
After reading this, perhaps the next question should be:
Will Pfizer CEO Mr. Kindler also resign?
The irony is that Mr. Kindler during a December 18, 2006 employee meeting stated:
"I’d like to see a culture where people feel freer than I think they do today, to be perfectly candid, to be open and frank and express their points of view, ah, without fear of some consequences to them. Ah, I think in different parts of the company that kind of culture exists, but I see a lot of evidence where it doesn’t exist. I get very, very depressed when I get emails, which I sometimes do, from people that said I need to send you this email anonymously, ah, because something bad will happen to me or please don’t tell my boss I told you this and their answer and perfectly reasonable idea, maybe it’s not a good idea, maybe it is not something they want to do, but the notion that somebody would be afraid to express themselves that way is very troubling to me."
November 17, 2005: Pfizer’s CFO Alan Levin, Vice Chairmen Jeff Kindler, Karen Katen and David Schedlarz; and Sylvia Montero, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, received an e-mail from Ashok S. Idnani, Deputy Finance Manager, alleging that Pfizer execs in India took kickbacks in connection with the sale of a Pfizer manufacturing plant for far less than it was worth; and that Pfizer India was “cooking the books.”
December 2, 2005: Ms. Indrani Franchini from Pfizer Corporate Compliance, which at the time reported to Jeff Kindler, and Ms. Sarah Alper, Corporate Audit, which reported to Alan Levin, conducted a two hour conference call with Idnani, requesting documents supporting his allegations. Idnani also claims that Ms. Franchini assured him there would be no retaliation.
January 17, 2006: Pfizer dispatched Ms. Indrani Franchini and Ms. Sarah Alper to Mumbai, India, to meet with Idnani and they questioned him at length about the documents he sent to them.
March 13, 2006: Ms. Franchini sent an e-mail informing Idnani that the investigation was concluded, the matter closed and the details regarding specific steps taken or outcomes would not be provided to him.
August 28, 2006: Idnani’s employment was abruptly terminated, after 28 years of service.
September 12, 2006: Idnani sent e-mail to Jeff Kindler, who was now CEO, Karen Katen, Vice Chairman, David Shedlarz, Vice Chairman, Alan Levin, CFO, and Sylvia Montero, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. He alleged he had been wrongfully terminated in retaliation for reporting illegal acts. Idnani also alleged Pfizer India executives “sold Company's properties at undervalued prices which generated kickbacks.” He also alerted management that Pfizer India “hired detectives to tail Mr. Pramod Lele the ex-Country Manager of Parke Davis.”
October 20, 2006 Idnani wrote to John Hong, Corporate Counsel, International Investigations and Programs, and Indrani Franchini. He stated, “I shall be able to prove my charges of fraud, corruption, kickbacks, unfair accounting . . . on my charges of 'cooking of books' one of the items that was brought to the notice of Ms. Franchini and Ms. Alper was transfer of ad hoc (without basis) amounts/provisions to "make up" profits of divisions/business. Idnani also reiterated that the sale “of Pfizer's Hyderabad Plant [was made] at grossly undervalued price,” and that Pfizer “sent detectives behind a[n] ex-CEO of Pfizer's subsidiary and others.”
December 11, 2006: Idnani wrote to John Hong, Pfizer Corporate Counsel, International Investigations and Programs, copied to Jesma Johnson, and Melanie Trinidad. “If you recall - at our teleconference on November 16, 2006, you questioned me on . . . practices Occult and Voodoo and about his Guru . . . It has come to my knowledge, that recently, the Income-Tax Authorities of the Government of India (equivalent to IRS/CID in U.S.) served notices on several employees working in Finance Division demanding from them a reply and detailed explanation as to why they have given certain amounts in the year 2004, to an individual named "Mr. Shivdasani". . . Now who is "Mr. Shivdasani." You guessed correctly - he is [redacted]'s Guru."
December 13, 2006: Jesma Johnson wrote to Idnani with copy to Melissa Maxwell-Avila. “My investigation in this matter is in regards to what you believe where acts of retaliation against you. Therefore any issues that you feel were not in compliance with policies and procedures should have been reported to corporate compliance.”
December 14, 2006: E-mail from Idani to Jesma Johnson. “I am giving below briefly, direct acts of retaliation, as requested by you.”
March 13, 2007, Idnani was informed by Mr. Ryan Trierweiler, Pfizer Worldwide Pharmaceutical Operations (WPO) Japan/Asia HR, that after a “very thorough investigation” and “having reviewed all relevant evidence in this case it is our determination that no such retaliation is evident and that your termination was for appropriate reasons under both Pfizer policy and local law”.
March 28, 2007: Idnani wrote to Ryan Trierweiler with copy to John Hong, Melanie Trinidad, and Indrani Franchini. “It is apparent that, by default, the Board of Directors - Pfizer Inc and N.Y. Pfizer Leadership Team have condoned, justified and given a clean certificate to . . . in respect of frauds, money laundering, undervaluation of Pfizer assets sold and other misdemeanors/felonies.”
March 29, 2007, John S. Hong, Pfizer Corporate Counsel, International Investigations and Programs in Pfizer’s Legal Division/Corporate Compliance group wrote an e-mail to Idnani: “Thank you for your below feedback, and I ensure you that the allegations which you have raised were treated seriously and reviewed appropriately. As you are aware, an investigation was conducted by a Legal and Audit Compliance team who traveled to India to meet with you and review your concerns. In regards to your requests below, we will not be able to provide you with any documentation related to the investigation of this matter, as that information is privileged and confidential. Regarding the documentation you reference related to the Hyderabad Plant allegation please forward any relevant documents to my attention. You may send them electronically, by mail or via fax, whichever is most convenient, and we will review them accordingly. Lastly, I want to make clear that the Company does not tolerate or condone any misconduct on the part of our colleagues, and I would like to emphasize that considerable time and effort were resourced to thoroughly review your claims.”
March 29, 2006: Idnani wrote back to John Hong. “It is a bit too late to ask me for further documentation on Hyderabad Plant . . . Either, you have not investigated, or there has been deficient investigation . . . I have given documents to Ms. Franchini of payments . . . for detectives, to tail the ex-country manager of Pfizer affiliate.”
April 5, 2007: Idnani wrote email to Jeff Kindler, CEO, Alan Levin, CFO, David Shedlarz, Vice Chairman, with copy to Indrani Franchini, Melanie Trinidad, John Hong and Ryan Trierweiler. He summarized his allegations:
** Undervaluation of manufacturing plant at Hyderabad (frauds and money laundering).
** Undervaluation of residential property at Brighton (frauds and money laundering).
** Unfair and fraudulent accounting (fraud, criminal conspiracy).
** Financial negligence (payments of very excessive advance Income-Tax, later refunded)
** Money laundering activities . . . This activity took place in Pfizer premises. An e-mail detailing the complete fraudulent and racketeering scheme was sent to Mr. John Hong in December 2006 (fraud, money laundering, perjury, tax evasion, criminal conspiracy committed by . . .
** Sending detectives behind litigants and the ex-country manager of a Pfizer Inc. affiliate and possibly to shadow a sitting judge of the high court (unethical, criminal and possibly anti-national behavior).
** Retaliation against me: reducing my grades, freezing of my salary and denial of bonuses for unprecedented four (4) years because I challenged the integrity of . . . and other acts of retaliation.
** Abusing women employees.
April 30, 2007: E-mail from Ryan Trierweiler to Idnani. “As you can see by receipt of various checks over the past couple of weeks I have been working on your behalf to sort out any issues related to your dues. I've also been working with the India site to figure out why these dues were not paid to you sooner.”
May 11, 2007: Idnani contacted Peter Rost. “My name is Ashok S. Idnani. I was a Deputy Manager with Pfizer-India, Finance Division, in Mumbai. I worked with Pfizer-India for 28 years. Suddenly, on August 28, 2006, my services were wrongfully terminated. Cover-up reasons were given immediately after terminating my employment and only after I demanded the reasons. Actually, the termination was in retaliation for reporting to the New York Pfizer Leadership Team in November 2005, a Corporate Compliance Issue for frauds and unfair Accounting.”
May 16, 2007: Pfizer Finance Executive Blows the Whistle - Part One
May 17, 2007: Pfizer Finance Executive Blows the Whistle – Part Two
May 18, 2007: Pfizer Finance Executive Blows the Whistle – Part Three
May 20: Pfizer CFO Alan Levin resigns.